Interviews, Inspirations, Focus

“Between human and nonhuman, dream and reality,” says the performer Miss Fame, standing in front of one of Iris Van Herpen's installations. There's a kind of enchantment, a feeling of grace, when you enter Iris Van Herpen's universe. Waves, sky and clouds form the organic setting for an Haute Couture that dresses the head as well as the body. “I could see the interdisciplinary approach throughout my whole body of work, but I was missing something that had always been a part of me: my love of sculpture and painting,” says Iris van Herpen, committed to finding the mechanics behind interwoven fluids in dance.


Like neo-antique archaeological digs rippling again, drawing us into their odyssey.  And so it is with this Hybrid Show, set to music by Salvador Breed: the mannequins, escaping from the frame, dance, motionless, suspended in space. On the theme of “Ancient Ancestors” or “Unfolding Time,” reality expands, immaterially sublimated by 3D pleating effects, celestial waves and hand-sewn breath. These are dresses, sculptures perfectly moulded onto the skin, spiders weaving their webs in the moon, translucent chimeras, spider-like mermaids; they line up alongside panels of tulle in relief, highlighting both innovation and poetic inspiration in craftsmanship, and nature indeed. Van Herpen sought the light in her own garden, once again transcending her own universe to find the magic of fusion in architecture, space, sea, art and dance. As universal as it is unique


“For a long time, I’ve been working on expanding people’s perception of how fashion and art can be symbiotic. This is the natural next step for me to really show what I mean,’” she says, likening her preferred process of moulage, or draping directly on the mannequin, to sculpting. “Even though we call one practice Haute Couture and the other art, to me, it’s one universe.”


Laurence Benaïm