Iris Van Herpen for Madame Butterfly

As well as her ten piece strong Amsterdam collection and the seven pieces that make up her mini-collection for the VFS Paris showroom, Iris has designed sixty pieces (and accompanying wigs!) for a production of Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly". It premiered at the Theater Osnabrük in Germany on September 5th, and will travel internationally over the next few months. The production is directed by Nanine Linning, a highly acclaimed Dutch choreographer, and places as much emphasis on dance and movement as it does on the music.

The three-act opera guides its audience through different sentiments, and Iris' costumes aim to enhance this emotional journey. The first act is full of optimism as Butterfly and her American lover Lieutenant Pinkerton fall in love and marry, but by the second act he has been gone for three years and she is alone, pining for him with their newly born son. The third act sees Pinkerton return, but with a new American wife in tow, spelling the end for heartbroken Butterfly. Iris' designs reflect the torment suffered by Butterfly, beginning in optimistic, colourful tones that gradually get darker as the performance continues.

Iris worked very closely with the opera's atelier through all stages of production, and encouraged them to use various techniques she has been working on for creating architectural shapes with fabrics. Pleats feature heavily, making a nod to the traditional Japanese use of the fan. Butterfly's wedding dress is a tour de force of pleats, with layer upon layer splayed out into fan shapes, creating a column of white semi-circles rising up from the ground.

Iris' designs aim to emphasize the fluidity of the dancers' movements as they travel around the stage, and she has said that this experience of designing for dancers became a huge inspiration for her Paris mini-collection, which incorporates strips of laser-cut plastic that create a rippling exoskeleton that undulates with every movement.

Photos of Iris' incredible designs can be seen
here. We're all desperate to see the production and hope it comes to London asap!

Octavia Bright

Fashion ScoutComment