Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer, who studied Fashion Designing at ArtEZ Institute of Arts at Arnhem. After completing her course, she started her career with internship at the Alexandra McQueen in London. With her amazing artistic designs soon she grabbed many eyeball and came up with her own label in the year 2007. Every year she creates two new collections and also participates in many international exhibitions. currently she is a guest member at the prestigious Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which is part of the Fédération française de la couture. Herpen has also explore many themes in her work like from crystalline forms, organic forms, biopiracy, magnetic reactions, to lucidity in her most recent collection Lucid.
Being one of the very popular contemporary designers she has made name for herself in both the fashion as well as the tech worlds by very efficiently combining handicrafts couture techniques with the modern technologies like the 3D printing and the laser cutting. Herpen was one of the very first designers to have come up with the 3D printed dress on the runway in the year 2010. since then Herpen has been gaining recognition with her amazing work in mainstream fashion and the 3D printing Fashion industry. In an interview with a fashion magazine The Cut, Herpen Described some of her work and design philosophies and hoe she fits herself in the Fashion and tech worlds.
Being a pioneer in 3D printed high fashion garments, Herpen has ever since maintained to see herself in the part of the handcrafted tradition of couture, that involves hand-made, made to measure garments. According to her technologies like the 3D printing a laser cutting are just hand extension tools for her with which she creates amazing couture. “Technology, for me, is just a tool. The laser cutter or the 3D printer—to me it’s equal to my hands or the hands of my team,” she explained. Previously she has worked on the dress of the Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie, where she had actual robotic arms 3D knitted a dress onto her. Also the robots used the traditional lace making technique and the hands that made them initially trying them back to the handcrafted practice.
Her most current project is the one where she is working with the new material called the dragon skin. Which is a high performance silicone material usually used in movies to stimulate skin effects. It is a very risky material to work with and require close attention as there are chances of it getting ruined easily. Also Herpen describes about the almost finished design of her dress that got ruined while the application of the last layer of silicon, the dress in made of thousands of wave-like pieces that were laser cut and molded form a 3D printer. These pieces were placed with hand on the dress and later lined with a thin layer of silk and cotton for the comfort of the wearer. Also the mannequin of the dress was custom made with clay and coated with dragon skin to properly create the dress onto it.
The entire dress took about two months period to complete along with some of her other designs and will be exhibited parallel to other innovative fashion pieces at the upcoming x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit that started today at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. , “She’s like the Marie Curie of fashion” says the exhibition's curator Andrew Bolton. Further the Dutch designer is planning to work with a proto-invisibility material that is presently being utilized by the U.S. Military. Herpen will for sure will be coming up some astonishing designs as she has collaborated with many scientists and architects, tech expertise people in order to create her upcoming futuristic and innovative artwork pieces.