Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International
Centre for Lace and Fashion

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Haute couture garments by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen will be displayed at an exhibition of her work in Calais, France, from June.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Skeleton dress by Iris van Herpen, in collaboration with Isaie Bloch

Considered a pioneer of 3D printing in the fashion industry, Van Herpen utilises both new technologies and hand crafting techniques to create intricate sculptural designs, as seen in the Skeleton dress (above) designed in collaboration with Belgium-based artist Isaie Bloch.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Crystallization by Iris van Herpen

A 3D-printed piece modelled on the transformation of liquid into crystal (above) and a voluminous handmade dress that references billowing smoke (top) are among the items to be shown.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Synesthesia by Iris van Herpen

Thirty pieces designed since she began her own label in 2008 will be exhibited in total, along with photographs and footage from her catwalk shows.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Chemical Crows by Iris van Herpen

The Iris van Herpen exhibition will be open from 15 June to 31 December at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion in Calais.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Escapism by Iris van Herpen

A design from Van Herpen's Crystallize collection features on the front cover of our one-off 3D printing magazine Print Shift. We also interviewed her for a feature in the magazine.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Capriole by Iris van Herpen

She recently created a dress modelled on splashing water during a live week-long web broadcast. Photography is by Bart Oomes.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Micro by Iris van Herpen, in collaboration with Isaie Bloch

See more designs by Iris van Herpen »
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Read on for further details from the museum:


The International Centre for Lace and Fashion of Calais consecrates a new exhibition to Iris van Herpen. At 29, this young Dutch fashion designer has largely impressed the fashion world with her futuristic sculptural costumes. Through the presentation of thirty pieces created between 2008 and 2012, the International Centre for Lace and Fashion invites the spectator to plunge into the avant-garde universe of this prodigious creator!

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Mummification by Iris van Herpen

Iris van Herpen

Iris van Herpen is a young Dutch designer (born Wamel, 1984) who has made a considerable impact in the world of Haute-Couture in recent years. Following in the footsteps of Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan and Rei Kawakubo, her innovative, sculptural dresses represent a major contribution to the conceptual end of high fashion, deconstructing and examining the creative process and the relationship between clothes and the human form.

After training at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem (Netherlands) and a passage with Alexander McQueen, Iris van Herpen set out to develop and explore her unique combination of traditional craftsmanship and technological innovation. Invited by the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute-Couture to show her first Parisian collection in July 2011, Iris van Herpen creates clothes of subtle, poetic, unsettling beauty. Their sculptural forms, enriched by the play of light, place them somewhere between Haute-Couture and contemporary art. And yet the designer does seem intent on creating designs which can be worn by everyone, capturing and reflecting the wearer’s personality and aspirations: she launched her first ready-to-wear line in March 2013.

Iris van Herpen exhibition at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion
Radiation Invasion by Iris van Herpen

Exhibition Layout

The International Centre for Lace and Fashion of Calais highlights the recent collections of Iris van Herpen through the presentation of thirty dresses and numerous photographs. The exhibition gallery is a large, minimalist plateau some seven metres tall and sixty metres in length, a majestic backdrop against which to appreciate the creations of this celebrated Dutch fashion designer, unique pieces which blur the boundaries between art, design and fashion. The gallery’s light walls and polished concrete floor will be plunged into twilight, with lights carefully placed to ensure that all eyes are drawn to the dresses on display.

These creations are arranged by date and by collection, displayed on stands so that they can be seen from all angles. These original Iris van Herpen dresses are placed in confrontation and conversation with the photographs displayed immediately opposite them. Visitors can also see the dresses in motion, with footage of van Herpen’s catwalk shows projected on the big screen in the auditorium.

The radically original forms and materials used in Iris van Herpen’s works qualify them as “wearable sculptures”. The pieces displayed here demonstrate her ability to craft complex designs which draw on a wide variety of techniques, with interweaving elements, intricate lacing and fluting. Certain parts of the body, notably the shoulders and hips, are accentuated with voluminous extensions. Some materials make recurring appearances: leather in various forms and styles, acrylics subjected to various manipulations, metal chains and plastic straps. The colour palette is deliberately muted, offset with occasional metallic effects and flashes of iridescence.

  • BriH

    Vivienne Westwood vs. H.R Giger! Great stuff!

    • blah

      I was thinking more Geiger and McQueen’s lovechild, but I’m with you – she’s amazing! I’d love to see her do something for men.

  • christine

    I want to see these dresses in Game of Thrones or a movie version of Elric of Melniboné!