Widely heralded as one of fashion’s most forward-thinking designers, Iris van Herpen discovered fashion for the first time in her grandmother’s attic, where she unearthed a mini-museum of garments and costumes that opened her eyes to another decade. Trained in classical ballet and throughout her career, the designer has been fascinated by fluidity and the entangled art of movement. The mercurial dance in which the body and mind intersect have perpetually propelled Van Herpen’s sensorial design philosophy and paved the way for more conscious forms of fashion.

Contemplating movement as a metamorphic force enables these ethereal garments to extend from the human body, sculpting their forms into multi-dimensional silhouettes. Movement adds another layer to the brand’s craft. Van Herpen’s vision is guided by the human anatomy and the way the woman moves, making these other-worldly looking garments adored by clientele worldwide. 

“Those years of dance taught me so much about my body, the transformation of movement, the ‘evolution’ of shape, and how to manipulate both shape and movement. My interest in fashion were rooted in dance, in which I am now able to transform this kinaesthetic knowledge into new forms and materiality.” - Iris van Herpen 

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Van Herpen’s work is deeply embedded in nature. Its beauty, mystery and chaos are aspects that the designer draws inspiration from. Elements of water, air and earth and its translation into liquescent, diaphanous, or textural forms sculpt the celestial designs. For instance, the infinite properties alluding to movement such as the unbound forces and fluidity behind water or its crystalline formations are facets that flow into the designs. Venturing into uncharted territories often means defying the parameters of disciplines, expanding Van Herpen’s interest into lesser-explored territories within nature such as the wood wide web, sound waves, cymatic patterns, synapses, magnetism, symbiosis, voltage, or kinetic movement. Through biomimicry, the maison visualises and materialises the invisible forces that shape our world, perpetuating a deep sense of organic presence.

A fascination for architecture has been with the designer from the very beginning.  Echoed in her creative process, a visual dialogue between these two worlds arises — on a conceptual level, the level of materiality and the level of techniques. Fashion and architecture are both expressions of self, culture and community that reflect the times and fabric of society. Dichotomies of the hard and soft, the structure and organic elements are visually evident in the brand’s distinctive viewpoint.

Whether drawing from the intricate web of nature, the structural philosophy of living architecture or fluid anatomy of the body, the vision of Iris van Herpen encircles the female form.