Iris van Herpen made her debut in Paris as a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture with Capriole. Besides showing a compilation of highlights from previous collections, this new collection also presented five striking outfits that evoke the feeling just before and during a free-fall parachute jump.
To reset body and mind, Van Herpen once in a while takes a 'leap in the air', the meaning of the French word Capriole. This collection is a reflection of the existential extremes between body and mind experienced during a parachute jump.
For instance, the Snake dress is created from sinuous shapes made of acrylic sheets that writhe around the wearer, evoking the mental state at the moment before the jump when, as Van Herpen explains, “all my energy is in my mind and I feel as though my head is snaking through thousands of bends”.
At first sight, the dress looks like a modern variant of the Laocoön, the ancient Greek sculpture that depicts a Trojan priest and his two sons in the grip of two sea serpents, but it is probably closer to an evocation of the mental state at the moment before the jump. Other garments like the Skeleton dress, were not the product of industrious handwork, but came straight from the computer and the 3-D printer. This white polyamide dress evokes the moment of the free fall when every fiber of the body feels as though it is growing in all directions and brings to mind a hybrid skeleton, as if the body is turned inside out.
Using a translucent white acrylic material, van Herpen created pieces with jagged spikes that are reminiscent of ice floes. These were inspired by the algorithmic sculptural work of architect Michael Hansmeyer.
Capriole was a collaboration with architect Isaïe Bloch and with 3-D print company Materialise as well as being the fourth collaboration with United Nude for the Snake Shoe made of black transparent acrylic sheets and with a slender curved heel.