IRIS VAN HERPEN S/S 10
Graduating from the ArtEZ Art Academy, van Herpen is pushing her individuality in daring designs
Text by David Hellqvist | Published 12 November 2009
In a time when many of London’s interesting and up-and-coming designers leave the capital for continental Europe it’s always uplifting when the opposite happens. Many avant garde European designers might feel that their national fashion stage is too small, or that the establishment does not appreciate their individual and forward pushing style direction. Thankfully, London and its fashion week will always be open for these lost souls.
Iris van Herpen is one of them. She isn’t lost - far from - but she is definitely at home in London’s jungle of exciting fashion designers. A graduate from ArtEZ Art Academy, van Herpen has been showing her eponymous label at the native Amsterdam Fashion Week since 2007, but she has also worked with Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf. Looking at van Herpen’s beautiful creations, it makes sense why these fashion heavy weights took her on; in many ways she share their talent for complicated and larger-than-life aesthetics.
For her S/S 10 collection, Iris van Herpen together with a handful of other Blow talents took over the Royal Festival Hall, and she showed eleven outfits to critical acclaim. And such is the hype around van Herpen that earlier this year she won a Dutch design Award for Best Product Fashion, Jewellery & Accessories. When the post-LFW calm was restored, Dazed Digital spoke to Iris van Herpen…
Dazed Digital: Congratulations to the Dutch Design Award - How does it feel?
Iris van Herpen: It is both an honour and a surprise. I never expected that so it feels really special!
DD: You won with your current A/W 09-10 collection, which is called Mummification - do you always try work around such strong concepts?
Iris van Herpen: The concepts of my collections are really important for me because they gives them meaning and depth. I can't make a collection ifI do not have a strong concept thatkeeps me interested during the whole process.
DD: Your recent S/S 10 collection was showed in London for the first time – what was your impression of LFW?
Iris van Herpen: I really enjoyed showing there, it was exciting and really alive; there is so much happening with fashion in London and so much to see!
DD: What's the biggest difference between fashion in Amsterdam and London?
Iris van Herpen: London is more international and fashion forward. Amsterdam is on a smaller scale and less alive.
DD: What was the main inspiration for the S/S 10 collection?
Iris van Herpen: My "Radiation Invasion" collection is about all the invisible radiation waves around us. Are we going to be able to see them in the future, and what do they do with our bodies? Will beauty change then? In the collection I answer these question with my imagination and translate them into 11 looks to show different impacts on our body and our beauty.
DD: What was the idea behind having 'foot jewellery' instead of shoes?
Iris van Herpen: It was the beginning, me exploring the vague area between jewellery and clothes. I want to make jewellery for clothes instead of jewellery for the body, like necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. I want to find the balance between an accessory and a piece of clothing…
DD: As always, your clothes were beautifully intricate - is craftsmanship your main driving force?
Iris van Herpen: They were all one-off pieces. For me the ultimate challenge within a collection is to make opposites fit well together and to create a futuristic elegance, but at the same time a craft look.
DD: There was a strong futuristic feeling about the collection - is that an accurate description of your work in general?
Iris van Herpen: Yes, there is always some futurism in my work. I like unanswered questions in my concepts, which you can find in future. Futurism gives spaceto my imagination and doubts. So, together with craftsmanship and special materials, I create my own personal world.
DD: Does practicability and functionality not interest you?
Iris van Herpen: For me, beauty is a function as well!
DD: You've worked with both Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf - are there any other designers whose aesthetic vision you can identify with?
Iris van Herpen: I admire Sandra Backlund for her vision and craftsmanship.
DD: Tell us about your work with the dance production Synthetic Twin!
Iris van Herpen: It’s about a new corporality and manipulation of the human body, which makes it al about fashion as well. It was really inspiring for me to design for them because I used to dance a lot, and I still do for myself. My designs are all about movement and the human body. Dance, music and fashion are for me the most inspiring forms of art - it all comes together in this piece. I was trying to melt our visions together into clothes and give the dancers personality!
DD: Do you feel that your clothes are equally at home on a stage as on the catwalk?
Iris van Herpen: They are both different ways of creating a new world, but I am more attracted to the catwalk because the clothes get a different / stronger attention.
DD: Will we see you in London next season as well?
Iris van Herpen: Yes!
DD: What’s your favorite piece from the S/S 10 collection?
Iris van Herpen: It’s impossible for me to choose one. What I show is already a selection of what we made - I like them all equally much...
Styling & Art direction Yasuhiro Takehisa
Hair Juan Carlos at One Makeup
Make up Karina Constatntine at Streeters
Model Kate E at IMG
Model trainer Kim Vos
Photography assistant Yasu Kotake
Special thanks to Fold Gallery, James Clark at IMG and Blow PR