Iris Van Herpen at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Today I’ve got something just a bit different from the usual fashion history post.  It’s New Years Day, a day when we all look to the future, so I thought I’d give a look at some very futuristic design, that of Iris Van Herpen.  Van Herpen is Dutch, and she is renowned for her use of  unusual materials.  Her first collection, Chemical Crows, was in 2007, and the museum has a selection of three designs from each of the shows she has created through 2015.

I’m not going to go into my usual analysis of the clothes, other than to give the name of the collection, and the materials used.  Other than that you are on your own.

If you can’t get past the thought that these clothes are unwearable, let me tell you that Van Herpen’s collections also contain clothing made of more conventional materials.  More conventional, but still stunning in a way that is rarely seen these days.

Chemical Crows, 2007:  wire umbrella ribs, industrial yarn, leather

Refinery Smoke, 2008:  metal gauze, leather

Mummification, 2009: leather strips, ball chains,  laced metal eyelets

Radiation Invasion, 2009: strips of leather

Synesthesia 2010: metalicized leather strips, metal eyelets

Crystallization, 2010: Plexiglass, leather, metal chain

Escapism, 2011: hand processed plisse fabric

Capriole, 2011:  transparent acrylic sheets, tulle, cotton fabric

Hybrid Holism, 2012:  3-D printed polymer

Micro, 2012:  3-D printed polyamide with copper treatment

Voltage, 2013:  mirror foil, acrylic sheets, viscose fabric

Wilderness Embodied, 2013:  laser-cut fabric

The work is astonishing, to say the least, and I suggest that if this show comes to a museum near you that you make an effort to attend.  The show will be traveling to other museums in North America, but I have not been able to find a schedule.

Iris Van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta through May 15, 2016.


Filed under Designers, Museums

10 responses to “Iris Van Herpen at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

  1. Recent (last 6-8 months I think) article about her in the Sunday NYT magazine, it was very good.


  2. Well, all I can say is “wow!” I wonder how she dresses herself.


  3. Thought- provoking- talent! It is not “fashion” – it is art not fashion in any sense of the word. Fascinating and wildly artistic use of material . If anything it is a wonderful “spoof” / tongue -in cheek expression of her interpretation of her view of high fashion!? It belongs in a museum as three dimensional art. Not on the runway-someone should “drop a line” to the designers who cross it!? It is a very fine line ! Just my opinion only! Thank you Lizzie for sharing this!


    • I agree that many of her more avant garde pieces are really art pieces, though some are worn in performance by people like Lady Gaga. But I do want to stress that Van Herpen does also create fashion in the true sense of the word.


  4. I second that “wow” and my thoughts also included “art rather than fashion” whilst viewing. Very thought-provoking ~ thank you, Lizzie!


  5. Wow–these are just incredible, Lizzie! I love it. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Jacq’s comments are spot on. “Is it Fashion or Art?” was a topic area I had to deal with daily when I was trying to run a fashion department in an art division, never mind the costume design courses. I also see ‘art’ rather than ‘fashion’ in these models. It’s a choice, not a value judgement, and for me, Gaultier is a master of this avenue. While very skilled and innovative, the pieces shown here resemble the type of assignments students made for “architecture as influence” and “non-traditional materials” projects (an attempt to get them to think outside of the box). A+ for Micro 2012!


  7. Pingback: High Museum of Art, Atlanta | The Vintage Traveler

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