Iris Van Herpen: Conscious Couture

An internationally recognized force, Dutch haute-couture designer Iris Van Herpen continues to employ the technologies of the future to craft jaw-dropping wearable art in her latest collection Earthwise.

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Along with muse Grimes in her avant-garde Met Gala look, celebrities dominating this autumn’s red carpets have turned to the feminine gowns of this ethereal collection.

In the ateliers of her Amsterdam-based Maison, the trailblazer visualized a collection inspired by our planet in the future of interdisciplinary thinking. As a couture designer, her pieces concentrate on sustainability and timelessness, defying to cross the bounds of vogue trends and fast fashion.

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Van Herpen was once an intern of Alexander McQueen, known to satirize the fashion industry in collections like Horn of Plenty and Voss. Ever since pioneering three-dimensional printing techniques to garment forms, Van Herpen understands how to make a statement on the fashion world, just like her mentor.

Through the beauty of Earthwise, her symbiosis of science, architecture and craftsmanship explores our relationship with our planet. Nature is a prevalent theme throughout her body of work, but Earthwise focuses on the globe as a whole. Much of the fine embroidery and layered fabrics take the shape of the circle, functioning as a representation of nature’s rebirth and cycles. The clothes’ natural tones of blue and white colors connect the looks to the message of ecological development. Simultaneously, Van Herpen’s artistic process upcycled marine debris in collaboration with Parley Ocean Plastic to prolong the life of used materials and demonstrate solidarity with conscious creation.

In addition to the striking couture, the designer took her visual campaign to new heights when she partnered with champion skydiver Domitille Kiger. Kiger wore a dress from the collection while soaring in the azure sky, highlighting the Earth’s spherical and enchanting beauty. Through a story of flight, she demonstrated that forming a perspective from the stratosphere has a major influence on these high fashion garments. The point of view from above parallels anyone’s viewership of the collection. Through an outer lens, both inspire us to make our world habitable for future generations by seeing the beauty worth saving.

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Although Van Herpen’s craftsmanship pays homage to McQueen’s work, the tone of her commentary is arguably more optimistic than her predecessor. Van Herpen’s Earthrise designs teach that there are already creators who utilize available resources to out a cycle of hyper-consumerism sewn into the fabric of the fashion industry. If more designers craft with Van Herpen’s aerial point of view in their next collections, spring’s fashion could be a re-birth in creation and a bloom of innovation.

Featured image taken from Instagram: @irisvanherpen