‘Hybrid Holism’ was the given-name for Iris van Herpen’s Autumn Haute Couture; a title and collection inspired by an anti-reductionist science, centred on the belief that “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.” 
True, you might say, given the impact of the VFS alumni’s other-worldly PVC moulds, and juxtaposed cut-out bodices. However, being couture- finished by hand with the most extreme attention to detail- we’d defy Van Herpen’s ‘Holism’ tag, with its “great[ness]” placed wholly on the finished works, and say her work is a feat of dualism; a collaborative process in which Herpen’s attention to detail- and the components of it- are equally as important as the whole.

One thing always expected of Van Herpen’s couture showings is innovationpushing technique, and textile to produce something other-wordly- evocative of outer-space, and ahead of our time. 
Last season, we saw this manifest beneath a “look, but don’t touch” exploration of the atypically feminine- this season, Herpen's output seemed less explorative in terms of theme, and more-so in terms of structure.
This season opened with metallic, midnight blue- a "piece" whose “everyday” foil would likely be a coat- seemingly solid in form, and moulded using newly-tapped lithograph technique; however the solidity of the piece was offset by layered 3D-polymer printing, showcasing Herpen's unique ability to capture motion in the utterly immovable.

The same technique was applied to lacquered cocoon coats, and thigh-skimming dresses; the latter’s truncated “ball gown” silhouette a reminder of Herpen’s now-established atypical femininity. A femininity reinforced by the Swarovski-crystal iridescence of a wild-waisted, cut-out bodice, and innovative “lacework”. "Lace" said with uncertainty, because- whilst it was undoubtedly open-work fabric, patterned with open holes- it wasn’t lace as we’d ever seen it- again enforcing Herpen's “atypical”. This lacework was silicon- seemingly delicate at distance; but wax-like- “alien” up close. Last season’s “look, but don’t touch” threatening femininity rearing its head.

It’s this complexity, and contradiction of inherently feminine proportions, and pattern that makes Iris van Herpen a skilled, and innovative couturier. 
Not just a designer; an artist, and a sculptor, manipulating material- thus structure- to compliment, but change the female form. 
Whether it’s the resulting modernity of this alumni’s couture collection, or the fact that her name is one that’ll become familiar, Iris van Herpen undoubtedly embodies futurism- however you choose to look at it.

Forgive the proverbial poking of tongues, but... "nurrrr", we cottoned on first.

Image source: NY Mag
Sara McAlpine (@sara_mcalpine)

Comment