Iris van Herpen

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Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen during the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012
van Herpen during the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012
Born (1984-06-05) June 5, 1984 (age 36)
Wamel, The Netherlands
OccupationFashion designer
Iris van Herpen
WebsiteIris van Herpen Official Website

Iris van Herpen (born June 5, 1984) is a Dutch fashion designer known for fusing technology with traditional haute couture[1] craftsmanship.[2] Van Herpen opened her own label Iris van Herpen in 2007. In 2011, the Dutch designer became a guest-member of the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, part of the Fédération française de la couture.[3] Since then, Van Herpen has continuously exhibited her new collections at Paris Fashion Week.[4] Van Herpen's work has been included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.


Iris van Herpen graduated from the ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem in 2006[5] and interned at Alexander McQueen in London,[6] and Claudy Jongstra[7] in Amsterdam before launching her own label in 2007.[8] The Dutch designer debuted her first Couture collection 'Chemical Crows’, at the 2007 Amsterdam Fashion Week.[9]

3-D printed neckpiece by van Herpen, 2011.

Van Herpen pioneered the use of 3D printing techniques applied to the world of fashion[10] and shown her first 3D-printed garment at the 2010 Amsterdam Fashion Week. The ‘Crystallization’ top was inspired from the phase transition water undergoes when it crystallizes. The garment was 3D printed from white polyamide.[11]

Van Herpen's work can be described as interdisciplinary as she draws inspiration from professions outside of fashion and the arts. Therefore, the designer creates much of her work in collaboration with professionals working in fields of science, technology and architecture.[12] For example, her SS 2020 collection, Sensory Seas', drew inspiration from both marine ecology and the work of Spanish neuroanatomist Ramón y Cajal.[13] In 2010, Iris van Herpen undertook her first collaboration outside of fashion, when she collaborated with the Dutch architectural firm, Benthem Crouwel Architekten to create her ‘Water’ Dress.[11]

Critics describe Iris van Herpen's work as both organic and innovative.[14] With New York Times journalist Vanessa Friedman stating: "It's not that she rejects the heritage of the couture, she just redefines it with modern tools. Once upon a time the sewing machine did the same.”[15]

Van Herpen was one of the first designers to adopt 3D-printing as a garment construction technique.[7] Her design process utilises technologies such as rapid prototyping as one of the guiding principles in her work. Van Herpen is known for using radical materials such as dragon skin,[15] synthetic boat rigging or the whalebones of children's umbrellas.[14]

Since 2009, pop star Lady Gaga has worn Iris van Herpen's designs on several occasions. In 2012, Gaga wore a custom shiny black Couture dress for the launch of her perfume Fame. The shape of the perfume bottle served as the inspiration of the dress, which Van Herpen constructed from laser-cut strips of black acrylic.[2] Van Herpen has also made use of silicones, iron filings, and resin.[16]

Posthuman Style[edit]

Iris Van Herpen her designs can be described as a posthuman style. Posthuman style is derived from Posthumanism. Anneke Smelik explains how in the context of fashion, the posthuman is a figure of interconnection and mutual imbrication that transforms human subjectivity by making alliances with all kinds of non-humans. By merging art, fashion and technology, Iris van Herpen produces a posthuman style of in-between- ness, moving away from any kind of dualist binaries. With Posthumanism, humans are not the centre anymore, we are intertwined and at the same level with technology, non-binary things and non-human objects.[17] The earlier mentioned water dress is a great example of posthuman style. Posthumanism overcomes dualism and is more intertwined and interconnections between for example the biological and technological etc. The mentioned water dress is a great example of several interconnections. It is a creation between craftsmanship and technology, as it is made by 3D printing . Yet also between the organic, the water and inorganic, the polyamide. Another one is between fluidity and solidity, the water splash and the hard polyamide material. Most of her designs take inspiration from natural phenomenons which she combines with technologies like 3d printing. Like dreams, sound waves, wasps of smoke or magnetic fields. With these designs it not only becomes an in betweenness, the body becomes blurred; posthuman.


Because of van Herpen's multidisciplinary approach to creation, she has collaborated with various artists such as Jolan van der Wiel[18] and Neri Oxman[19] and architects such as Philip Beesley[20] and Benthem and Crouwel Architects.[21] The designer's interest in science and technology has led to ongoing conversations with CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)[22] and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[23]

Further collaborations:

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ McQueen, Paul. "The Story of Haute Couture". Culture Trip. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b Rebecca Mead (25 September 2017). "The New Yorker - Iris van Herpen's Hi-Tech Couture". The New Yorker.
  3. ^ Berry, Allison (9 April 2013). "Fashion Forward: Boundary-Pushing Designer Iris van Herpen's Latest Creation". Time.
  4. ^ Verner, Amy (2 July 2018). "Vogue - Fashion Shows Iris Van Herpen". Vogue.
  5. ^ "Johannes Vermeer Awards 2017 goes to Iris Van Herpen". ArtEZ. 5 September 2017.
  6. ^ Mark Holgate (28 April 2016). "Iris Van Herpen Dutch designer interview on 3D printing". Vogue.
  7. ^ a b Sharpe, Shannon (28 October 2014). "Iris Van Herpen is making fashion future". Metropolis.
  8. ^ "Iris van Herpen | BoF 500 | The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry". The Business of Fashion.
  9. ^ Borrelli-Persson, Laird (1 January 2008). "Vogue - Fall 2008 Fashion Shows Ready to wear". Vogue.
  10. ^ López López, Anna María (2018). Diseño digital de moda. Madrid: Editorial Anaya Multimedia. pp. 40-43 - Cap 1 Tecnología digital aplicada a la moda. ISBN 978-84-415-3974-7. OCLC 1090145404.
  11. ^ a b Borrelli-Persson, Laird (1 September 2010), "Spring 2011 Fashion Shows Ready to wear", Vogue
  12. ^ Stinson, Liz (19 November 2015). "Iris Van Herpen's Extraordinary Clothes Are More Like Wearable Sculptures". Wired.
  13. ^ "Sensory Seas | Couture". Iris van Herpen. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  14. ^ a b Liz Logan (6 November 2015). "The Dutch Designer Who Is Pioneering the Use of 3D Printing in Fashion". Smithsonian.
  15. ^ a b Friedman, Vanessa (2 June 2018). "Moving the Goal Posts in Fashion". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Mead, Rebecca. "Iris van Herpen's Hi-Tech Couture". The New Yorker. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  17. ^ Smelik, Anneke (2020). "Fractal Folds: The posthuman Fashion of Iris Van Herpen". Fashion Theory. 1: 1-22. doi:10.1386/infs.5.1.33_1.
  18. ^ "Magnetic dresses by Iris van Herpen and Jólan van der Wiel". Dezeen. 30 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Voltage by Iris van Herpen with Neri Oxman and Julia Koerner". Dezeen. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Azure - Transforming Fashion: Philip Beesley and Iris van Herpen's Future Couture". Azure. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Water dress by Iris van Herpen". 20 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Iris Van Herpen Created These CERN-Inspired Outfits Using 3D Printing And Magnets". Vice. 3 October 2014.
  23. ^ Sterling, Bruce (22 January 2013). "Iris van Herpen and Neri Oxman collaborate on 3DPrinted fashion". Wired.
  24. ^ Flood, Kathleen (9 February 2012). "Dressing Björk: Meet Fashion Designer Iris Van Herpen". The Creators Project. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Roskilde Festival". Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  26. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (25 September 2015). "Paris Opera Shows Off Its Brilliance". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Sasha Waltz - Kreatur". Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  28. ^ "SHOWstudio - Splash!". Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  29. ^ David (9 March 2012). "TIME Magazine names Iris van Herpen's 3D printed dress one of the 50 Best Inventions of the 2011 | i.materialise 3D Printing Service Blog - watch us make the future (feel free to join in)". Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  30. ^ "Vogue - Iris van Herpen named winner of the ANDAM 2014 Grand Prize". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  31. ^ "STARTS Prize - Magnetic Motion". Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Johannes Vermeerprijs 2017". Retrieved 30 October 2017.

External links[edit]