Iris van Herpen unveils an alluring collection inspired by Aquatic Architecture and Bionic
Innovations that offers a glimpse into the future.
Paris Haute Couture ~ Drawing inspiration from the future of floating cities and the concept of bionic design, this pioneering collection reflects a vision where humans inhabit both land and offshore environments. To envision a future where our built environment becomes a natural extension of the vast aquatic landscapes, creating a harmonious coexistence between humanity and the world's oceans.
Van Herpen's creative journey began with the visionary ideas of Jacques Rougerie, a French
Architect and Oceanographer, known as the ‘Architect of the Sea’. Rougerie's work bridges the
gap between scientific exploration and architectural innovation, offering a deeper understanding
of the intricate relationship between the oceans and our built environment. His designs of
underwater habitats and floating laboratories, informed by his expertise as a marine biologist
and architect, have inspired van Herpen's exploration of aquatic urbanism.
Other looks of the collection are influenced by the revolutionary World’s First Floating City,
‘Oceanix’ that is currently being built in South Korea. As the first large manifestation of this new
form of waterborne urbanism, designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels, Oceanix integrates zero
waste and circular systems, closed-loop water systems, net-zero energy, and coastal habitat
regeneration. This new generation of architects show a radical shift in urban planning and a blueprint for resilient cities of the future.
Driven by R&D, the collection materializes the principles of parametric architecture that is known
for its fluidity, fragmentation, and shifting patterns. The designs dynamic energy is evident in the explosive patterns of light and shadow that vibrate around the body, the fractal forms, geodesic voids, and distorted perspectives that redefine fashion's traditional boundaries.
Van Herpen draws from the aquatic urbanism movement by focusing on the physiological,
behavioral, and structural adaptations of biological organisms to create new Couture techniques
that blur the boundaries between fashion and floating architecture. Each look was therefor digitally modeled before the physical draping process started.
The cutting-edge ’Biophilic’ technique is developed from lasercutting architectural lineworks that
are bonded together to serve as molds, in which a marble-textured silicone is injected with syringes into the fine lasercut outlines. At the same time abalone-shell flakes are inlaid by hand
into gradients before the silicone is settling. After settling, a final transparent layer of silicone is
injected to enhance the iridescent shell shards gracefully.
The daring ‘Oceanix’ technique is developed to paint bursting patterns in space. These graphic
polygon patterns explode skillfully from order to chaos through the movement of the body, as
the polygons are deconstructed in air by the models moving. Fine fiberglass rods are carefully
balanced to distribute an exact amount of weight and vibration into the dissected geodesic
bursts, creating an interplay of fluidity and fragmentation.
The harmonious color palette of this season combines graphic contrasts of white and blacks
that are highlighted with metallic silver, bronze and gold detailing. An oceanic mood is created
through soft tones of mint-green that are mixed with abalone-blue, turquoise and pearlescent
The ARCHITECTONICS collection dares to imagine humanity’s next frontier: a world with
waterborne urbanism that harmonizes with marine ecosystems.
Global concerns grow as 90 percent of large cities worldwide are vulnerable to rising sea levels,
and over 410 million people are predicted to be at risk.
This season Van Herpen's designs draw attention to the visionary ideas of Oceanix, the world’s
first floating city and the important new generation of architects that show us the ingenuity and
desirability of waterborne architecture. Challenging our conventional notion of living spaces,
each design encapsulates the duality of our existence, where land and water intertwine to see a
future where we seamlessly inhabit both realms.
'miu' & 'shaolin mantis' by Marina Herlop
'God' by Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones
Show Video: Jip Mus & Dammes Kieft
Iris van Herpen ~ Carte Blanche
Van Herpen collaborated with French artist Julie Gautier to create a film that explores the idea of femininity and female beauty as a form of control. The anticipated movie is inspired by womanly bravery and perseverance. The sensual narrative is a forceful composition that conveys the power of the female body and its ability to take ownership of her beauty to challenge the status quo.
“In the beginning, three women are melted together into a painting of skin, textures of growth and decay. The red heart of this female ocean drifts down alone into the deep depths of her own consciousness where she dances a journey of isolation and oppression moving into resilience and invincibility.” - Iris
Van Herpen and Gautier use the symbolism of water to subdue female shapes into a choreography that slowly disembodies control.
Where the movements tell a story of fortitude, resistance, and finding freedom. ‘Carte Blanche’ is an ode to the ongoing resilience and strength of Iranian women and to the strength of women worldwide. The film portrays female bravery and is a testament to how women can use their physicality and strength to resist oppression, fight for their rights, and encourage others to persevere in their individual journeys. Always committed to pushing the boundaries of fashion, van Herpen and Gaultier’s film is a beautiful example of the power of art to communicate a message of strength and perseverance. Through their art, these female artists are inspiring others to use their talents to create meaningful change.
Production Manager: Tim de Deygere
Backstage Photography and Videography: Jip Mus
Casting Director: Maxime Valentini
Models: Julie Gautier | Gilone | Maya Sieron
Safety Diver: Dada Li
Production Assistant: Nadia Bonnard
Make-up: Sofia Cabras
Location: Y-40 – The Deep Joy
Iris van Herpen ~ Meta Morphism
At Paris Haute Couture Week 2022, Iris van Herpen celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the Maison with ‘Meta Morphism’.
Holding a lens to our intangible identities and shifting society with the metaverse and hyperreality at the horizon, this collection explores the depths of the body in posthuman realities.
With the new realms of our digital lives expanding, we are faced with an eternally rhetorical question: who are we beyond our physical bodies? Is the digital you shaping your pre-existing com- pass?
Through 'Meta Morphism’, Van Herpen expresses the body as an elusive system, rooted in transcience and speaks to a greater message of introspection.
The leitmotif of van Herpen’s history expresses the body in a state of permanent flux, metamorphosing with the milieu, and while the Maison is regarded for its futuristic approach, this season the designer reflects on Ovid's magnus opus poem ‘Metamorphoses’.
At the time of Ovid’s writing, the act of metamorphosis was appreciated in relation to humanity and its place amongst nature, yet Ovid’s retelling exists a relevance today, navigating the ramifications of technology that is constantly complicating the definition of identity. With the ability to recreate our digi- tal twins, the space of soul-searching, losing a sense of self, and finding new realities, are life lessons.
The collection examines the ancient visions of Ovid’s mythology through modern themes of transhumanism, where man and technology ex- ist in eternal fluctuation, thus defying classification, allowing us to question the limits of our self. Resounding the thematic tensions between artifice and nature, the collection is built around three myths, the story of Arachne; the story of Narcissus and finally the story of Daphne and Apollo.
The tragedy of Arachne is translated in fine laces that are gradient dyed and trapped in embroidered webs, causing the trapped spiderwebs to float. Other looks are designed as if Arachne is still weaving them, hundreds of unspun threads float and spin around the body.
The second myth behind the collection evinces the story of Narcissus, who falls in love with his own reflection, slowly languishing to death through self-obsession. The translucent layering and reflective textures of growth in this collection speak to a greater message of introspection. Transparent voluminous drapes echo around the body like ghosts, creating patchworks of shadows, designed to turn inwards on ourselves. Accents of dark blues and amethysts, ochres, metallic silvers and copper intersect the lucid palette. The ‘Narcissus’ gown and coat express the power of self-creation and the contradiction of how self-obsession can ultimatrly cause loos- ing your sense of self.
The allusion to Daphne and Apollo is betokened through the finale look, embodying the very moment that Daphne transforms into a laurel tree, while the 'Glitched Growth' dress and other looks mimic the alternate stages of Daphne’s metamorphoses, diffusing the creation of plant and bone structures growing together. These looks are designed around body objectification and imagine future metaverse hybrids of Daphne’s myth in which the body is boundlessly transformed and where man and nature are indistinguishable.
In keeping with the Maison’s collaborative spirit, this season, Iris van Herpen partners with sculptor Casey Curran, bequething a prospective statue of a future Daphne, bursting from the centre of the runway. Daphne’s sculpture transforms through herbose creatures blooming from her skeleton, at her chest appears a large crevice, revealing her mechanical heart pulsating inside, pertaining to the notion that the elusiveness of identity means that nothing can perish.
Videography: 4eyes, Dammes Kieft
Press Release: Scarlett Baker
Show production: Eyesight | Popkraft
Light design: Thierry Dreyfus | Eyesight
Choreography: Diek Pothoven
Sound Director: Salvador Breed
Sound Composition: Johnny Paradiso
Harpist: Hannah Koegler
Face Jewellery: Benas Staskauskas
Head Pieces: Lance Victor Moore
Iris Van Herpen Skydive Footage
The Dutch fashion designer has skydiving world champion, Domitille Kiger, wear an 'Earthrise' gown from her latest Fall Winter collection.
Iris van Herpen ~ Earthrise
Iris van Herpen shows her latest collection ‘Earthrise’ during Paris Haute Couture Week on July, 5th 2021.
With our planet positioned at the forefront of the global agenda more than ever before, ‘Earthrise’ explores the splendour of this blue body we call home by circling towards the amalgamated awareness to maintain the grandeur of the turning sphere we traverse along. In parallel to Van Herpen’s drive towards an interconnected approach to fashion, the 19 look collection narrates the circular processes that usher change in our sentient world by weaving a symbiotic thread between artisanal tailoring and organic craftsmanship, derived from the perception of our world as one living and breathing organism.
With the turn of the last century came the launch of Apollo 8, the first-ever crewed spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and witness the Earthrise from the Moon’s horizon. Astronauts looked over our revolving sphere from afar, to see a boundless, indescribable space; a living, breathing organism, unmarred by conflict, borders as well as hierarchies and all of the entrenched partisans that make up the minutiae of our quotidian lives. Against the darkness of the inky black vastness of space, they experienced an emotional shift: a cosmic perspective of oneness.
Contemplated as a metamorphic realisation, the expedition went beyond scientific headway, remaining a pivotal moment in our evolution as sensitive sapiens. ‘Earthrise’ symbolises this shift of an anthropocentric perspective — our discernment of time has never felt so spectral. Tasked to feel, rather than to count, this novel ethos was framed as ‘Earth-gazing,' to observe the intricacies of this cosmic view and the magnificence of our surrounding mythosphere. To challenge the immensity of space that surrounds our tellurian haven, Iris van Herpen, enraptured by the seductive ancient human dream to fly out into the stratosphere of the unfamiliar, collaborates with the female world-champion skydiver Domitille Kiger. Capering through the expansive skies, from the age of 15, the designer grew fascinated by the choreographed performance of her craft, fusing two diametrical opposed worlds of artistry and science.
Through Kiger’s graceful sky-dancing, she embodies a new meaning of earthly freedom, thwarting any fear with the spirit of transcendence. Through the extreme speed and Kiger's choreography, while sky-dancing, the custom Haute Couture gown reveals the turbulence of the intricate handwork. Made from thousands of blue spheres in colour gradients, embodying our 'blue marble’ home, the gown spins off in dazzling twists in an array of directions simultaneously.
Iris van Herpen ～ Roots of Rebirth
Iris van Herpen shows her latest collection ‘Roots of Rebirth’ during Paris Haute Couture Week on January 25th 2021.
During such rarefied times, the designer explores a symbiosis of high technology and the artisanal craftsmanship of couture, through a collection that references the intricacy of fungi and the entanglement of life that breathes beneath our feet. Through ‘Roots of Rebirth’, Van Herpen notions towards the miraculous lacery of interconnectedness from the natural ‘wood wide web,’ weaving a dialogue between the terrestrial and the underworld. The work of Iris van Herpen is often described as ethereal and transcendental; a chimeric exposition, radiating shapes that reference the relationship between the human body and the natural world. This season, the Dutch designer explores the rich, yet deeply fragile interconnectedness of an unfamiliar world, the enigmatic fungi empire and the life-bearing fine threads of mycelium. The collection details the extraordinary existence of this winding ‘fabric of life,’ the marvelling world of undergrowth tapestry. In reference to the book penned by scientist Merlin Sheldrake, ‘Entangled Life’ notes that ‘fungi is the ecological connective tissue, the living seam by which much of the world is stitched into relation.
“Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. These astonishing organisms challenge our animal imaginations and make questions of many of our well-worn concepts, from individuality to intelligence.” - Merlin Sheldrake
Ocean Plastic® fabric made from upcycled marine debris by Parley for the Oceans was printed and incised into thousands of fine trilateral tessellations, initiating a fragile symbiosis with the skin through seamless gradients in translucency.
Iris van Herpen ~ Sensory Seas
On January 20th, 2020, Iris van Herpen presented her latest Couture collection, titled ’Sensory Seas’, at Cirque d'hiver Bouglione in Paris.
For this collection, Iris van Herpen draws inspiration from the sensory processes that occur between the intricate composition of the human body, mirrored with the fibrous marine ecology of our oceans. The first threads of inspiration came from the Spanish neuroanatomist Ramón y Cajal. He wanted to uncover something that no one had yet understood. He questioned; how does the brain engage in conversation with its counterparts? Exploring our central nervous system in microscopic detailing, Cajal documented his revolutionary findings through anatomical drawings that are considered amongst the world’s greatest scientific illustrations. Hunched over his microscope, he merged science with art and brought to life the threads of our enchanted biology to the human eye.
Iris van Herpen ∞ Hypnosis
On July 1st, 2019, Iris van Herpen presented her 2019 Couture collection, Hypnosis, at Élysée Montmartre in Paris.
The collection is inspired by the hypnotic manifolds within our ecologies through the work of American artist Anthony Howe. The three-dimensional cyclical harmony of Howe’s kinetic sculptures is the wind beneath the wings of this collection. Howe's spherical ‘Omniverse’ sculpture explores our relationship with nature and intertwines with infinite expansion and contraction, expressing a universal life cycle. The meditative movement of the ‘Omniverse’ serves as a portal for the collection and the models, encircling a state of hypnosis. Hypnosis reflects the beauty and complexity of our environment, exploring the patterns and structures within its fragile landscape.
Iris van Herpen ～ Shift Souls
A look into the creative process of the Iris van Herpen 'Shift Souls' collection evolving to its final shape in the Amsterdam atelier, followed by the finishing preparations for the show in Paris. Video by Xinix Films.
Iris van Herpen ～ Shift Souls
On January 21st, 2019, Iris van Herpen presented her Haute Couture collection, titled 'Shift Souls' at Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The collection was inspired by early examples of celestial cartography and its representations of mythological and astrological chimera, Van Herpen was particularly taken with "Harmonia Macrocosmica," a star atlas by the German-Dutch cartographer Andreas Cellarius, published in 1600. With the advances in DNA engineering and the first successful creations of human/anima hybrids called 'Cybrids', the mythological dreams of Humankind since the dawn of civilization are shifting to the canvas of science.
Iris van Herpen: Syntopia
Iris Van Herpen creates a series of dresses that replicate the feathers and soundwave patterns of birds in flight alongside a kinetic lighting installation.
Iris Van Herpen Haute Couture Spring Summer 2018
Iris Van Herpen's 2018 Haute Couture Spring Summer runway collection by Iris Van Herpen at Paris Fashion Week.