Work / Fashion

Iris Van Herpen explores sound waves in her latest high-tech, high-concept, haute couture collection

Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen presented her latest works in Paris earlier this month, in a high-concept installation exhibiting a continued flair for high-tech innovation in the creation of haute couture showpieces.

The latest collection concerns itself thematically with cymatics, the study of visualising sound waves, making use of such evolving, oscillating patterns as motifs and structural forms throughout the garments. Geometry and symmetry feature heavily, liberally recalling the forms of fossils, crystals, waves and water.

Presented as both fashion runway and installation at L’Oratoire du Louvre in Paris, Iris Van Herpen called upon Japanese musician Kazuya Nagoya to create a soundscape manifestation of the central couture concept, making use of the east Asian singing bowl instrument.

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku Installation
Kazuya Nagoya performing

“Seijaku is the Japanese word and concept for finding serenity amidst life’s chaos. The artist performs live during the show in the L’Oratoire du Louvre which was specifically chosen for its exceptional acoustics that fuse the meditative sound waves,” says Iris.

As ever, Iris makes adept use of 3D printing and laser cutting to bring many of the garments to life, as she explains, “a halter dress is laser cut and stretched over black wire to scroll around the body like waves of sound in a shell.” She also employs a plethora of new techniques, which she explain were, “developed exclusively for the collection include stitching pearl-coated rubber fabric onto black tulle to create fossil and floral layering.”

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

In one stand out composition, thousands of hand-blown glass bubbles coated in transparent silicone form a translucent exoskeleton disrupting the shape of an otherwise classic bell dress, which Iris says was intended to form “a bioluminescent prism around the body.”

Perhaps the most striking addition to Van Herpen’s oeuvre are the sheer, flowing Japanese organza woven garments. “Woven from threads five times thinner than human hair and made with the traditional Shibori technique, creating unique cymatic patterns,” Iris explains. These billow and gently undulate through the space, showing off a new silhouette from the designer famed for her highly-structured, rigid garments.

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku
Kazuya Nagoya performing

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku Installation

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku Installation

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku

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Iris Van Herpen: Seijaku Installation