Couture Fashion

Iris Van Herpen: Magnetic Attraction

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By Chere Di Boscio

Because she is a pioneer in the field, we’ve written much about Iris Van Herpen‘s 3D printed collections, but if you’re not familiar with this innovative Dutch designer, allow me to introduce her. Van Herpen is has been widely reconised as one of fashion’s most talented and forward-thinking creators, who has continuously been pushing the boundaries of fashion design since she launched her label in 2007.

Inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials and garment construction methods are the trademarks of her unique aesthetic vision. She calls this design ethos “New Couture.”

Van Herpen is also often hailed as a pioneer in using 3D printing as a zero-waste garment construction technique, and as an innovator who is comfortable with using technology as one of the guiding principles in her work. The designer says her intent is to “blend the past and the future into a distinct version of the present by fusing technology and traditional Couture craftsmanship.”

There is one technique she uses that we haven’t given much attention to as yet, but which is just as innovative and unique as 3D design: magnetic pull.

Collaborating with  Jolan van der Wiel, Van Herpen used metal and magnets to ‘grow’ dresses for a collection a few years ago – unfortunately, this was before Eluxe was ‘born’, so we couldn’t report on it then. But so unique was her technique and so breathtaking the result, we couldn’t resist reviving the collection on the site.

Using a composite material made from iron filings and mixed into resin, the designing duo’s technique to create these pieces involved the manipulation of a metallic fabric mixture with magnets to form unique, organic shapes. The resulting fabric used for this 2013 collection is much more flexible and tactile than you would imagine, feeling like “a hairy skin”and allowing the material to move more freely with the body.

This flexibility of fabric is a departure from Van Herpen’s previous, more rigid styles, but her trademark technical innovations and a nod to sustainability are still very much present.

Who cares if this collection isn’t Van Herpen’s latest. The point here is that her  work forces us to think about nature and the forces of the natural world that surround us, making her work, in our opinion, more art than fashion.

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Chere Di Boscio

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