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Past Exhibitions

Iris van Herpen banner

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

November 7, 2015–May 15, 2016

Experience the bold vision of one of today’s most original fashion designers with 45 stunning outfits from 15 collections in Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion—on view for the first time in North America in the High Museum of Art’s fashion debut.

Overview

Iris van Herpen works at the nexus of fashion, design, technology, and science. With a dynamic and path-breaking body of work, she is widely heralded as a pioneering new voice in fashion. Fashion is about quick deadlines, international platforms, and a voracious need for the next new thing. It is a discipline that requires tremendous creative energy to constantly produce and perform. Van Herpen is known for her willingness to experiment—exploring new fabrics created by blending steel with silk or iron filings with resin, incorporating unexpected materials ranging from umbrella tines to magnets, and pushing the boundaries of technologies such as 3-D printing.

Van Herpen has created a body of work that continues to defy expectation, evolving and forging new ideas and inspirations based both in nature and in visions of the contemporary world. The resulting works, defined within the fashion world as couture, are typically collected and shown in museums, viewed more often as fine art than as design-forward wearables. This exhibition documents the evolution of Iris van Herpen’s couture through a selection of her collections from 2008 through 2015 and illustrates the many ways she continues to seek inspiration beyond the world of traditional handwork and craftsmanship.

Iris van Herpen

Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984) produced her first collection in 2007, shortly after graduating from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Born in the small town of Wamel, she is now based primarily in Amsterdam, away from the Parisian world of haute couture. In 2012 she became a member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, where her designs regularly appear in biannual Paris runway shows. Van Herpen divides her time between the contained world of her studio, her global network of collaborators, and the international stage of fashion.

As van Herpen describes her artistic philosophy, “For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it can be timeless and that its consumption can be less important then its beginning. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.”

Organization and Support

Iris Van Herpen credit lines