New waves: futuristic fashion from Iris van Herpen
The recent range of Iris van Herpen, a hyper-inventive clothing designer whose garments are often characterized as “wearable sculptures”, is inspired by sonic bursts, wave propagations and all manner of biomorphic patterns. Sporting edgy aquatic forms (think The Abyss—a film about alien seawater pseudopods and non-terrestrial intelligence) and scintillating sci-fi geometrics, Iris’ clothes are fashioned from diverse materials and methods: hand-blown glass bubbles dipped in silicone to polymer micro-threads a fraction of the thickness of human hair. Her other techniques involve ultrasonic welding, 3D printed fabrics, milled foam and magnetized fibers. A few seasons back she presented a range inspired by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator that smashes atoms and discovers new stuff in the universe. Her pioneering 2010 collection “Crystallizations” was the first to debut 3D printed couture (the critics and fashion intelligentsia went bananas). In “Manus x Machina”, currently on at the Met in New York, Iris smashes the myth that hand-fabricated clothes outclass machine-fabricated ones. Combining oblong angles with complex curving forms and otherworldy aesthetics, Iris’ architectural and sci-fi getups make her a master blaster of the sublime.