Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer who is widely recognized as one of the fashion’s most talented and forward-thinking creators who continuously pushes the boundaries of fashion design. Since her first show in 2007, van Herpen has been preoccupied with inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials and garment construction methods into her unique aesthetic vision. She calls this design ethos “New Couture.”
Van Herpen is often hailed as a pioneer in utilizing 3D printing as a garment construction technique, and as an innovator who is comfortable with using technology as one of the guiding principles in her work because of its sculptural nature and unfamiliar form. The designer’s intent is to blend the past and the future into a distinct version of the present by fusing technology and traditional Couture craftsmanship.
Her singular vision combined with the complexity of her creations has made van Herpen a fixture on the Paris Haute Couture calendar, where she has shown since January 2011.
Van Herpen’s work has been featured in various museum exhibitions, including a major retrospective that is touring the United States since 2015, beginning with a six-month long run at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Six of her dresses were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and seven of her works were exhibited in its highly successful 2016 “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” show. In addition to the above, van Herpen’s creations have been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Cooper Hewitt museum in New York, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, among others.
Three solo books have been published on the designer’s work. “Iris van Herpen” by the Groninger Museum to accompany her first solo exhibit, “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion” by the High Museum of Art to accompany the United States museum tour, and most recently “Iris van Herpen Backstage” shot by Morgan O’ Donovan.Van Herpen has received numerous awards since 2009. These include the ANDAM Grand Prix prize (2014) and the Grand Prize of the European commission – STARTS (2016).
Because of van Herpen’s interest in a multidisciplinary approach to creation that goes beyond fashion, she has often collaborated with various artists such as Jolan van der Wiel and Bart Hess and architects such as Philip Beesley and Benthem and Crouwel Architects. The designer’s interest in science and technology has led to ongoing conversations with CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Conversely, van Herpen’s distinct aesthetic viewpoint has inspired collaborations with progressive musicians and actresses such as Björk, for whose video's and tours van Herpen has created several dresses, Tilda Swinton, Gwendoline Christie, and Grimes. Her special projects included dressing the actress Scarlett Johannson in the film “Lucy,” dressing Beyoncé in her “Mine” video and creating costumes for the Paris Opera and the New York City Ballet. A former ballet dancer and its avid follower, van Herpen has collaborated with the choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Her upcoming projects include costumes for the Sasha Waltz dance company in Berlin.
Today, van Herpen continues to work within her Amsterdam studio, where new ideas are born, and where Haute Couture orders are meticulously crafted for her global clientele, each creation passing through the designer’s own hands.