Iris Van Herpen

Shot with a Flip Video

There was electricity in the air as the audience of seasoned show-goers jostled and elbowed to secure their seat at the catwalk’s edge.  The room was packed with serious fashionistas, some seriously eccentric looks, and the sense that we were about to be seriously spoilt for choice.  Van Herpen has a reputation amongst the fashion brigade as a rapidly evolving star and, with James Brown on hair; she is certainly reeling in an exciting bunch of high profilers.  As the lights dimmed, and the heavy, thudding beat kicked in, the tension was palpable. 

The first look to hit the catwalk was a nude, super short, tailored dress with thick, woven braids looped and plaited at the hem, followed by a stunning taupe creation, quivering with tubes of bouncy, slashed fabric, shaking and slinking in a feat of fabulous engineering as the model moved down the catwalk.  Next up: the same slashed, ribbon-like, structured cutting, but this time in black, with enormous wave-like shoulders stretching out beyond the body and sweeping back under the arms in a metallic, shiny material that glittered under the lights. Ever more slashed, shivering creations thundered down, one with golden slashed wings shooting off from the torso, another in shimmery bronze, with shaped, voluminous hips and shoulders like armour, another with slashing that looked like the hard shell of an exquisite bronze beetle, but yet was moving and swaying as if having come to life.  Boys and girls teetered on chunky, curved platform heels, bedecked with slices of that same shiny gold, and pale, wispy hair was piled atop the head like soft, candyfloss clouds.  A sheer, draped, coffee coloured silken dress slunk down, with taupe slashing hidden underneath it, and beautiful, curling black feathers were applied over the eyes.

As the show closed, and Van Herpen appeared, she was met with emphatic whoops and cheers from the crowd, who were clearly as blown over by her staggeringly complex creations as I was.  The slashing, so fine and accurate, created movement that was so in sync it was almost hypnotic.  A beautifully realised collection, Van Herpen proved that her enormous talent equalled her rapidly expanding reputation. 

Words: Fiona Anderson
Images: David Coleman