The Iris Van Herpen Exhibit in Calais

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A former intern at Alexander McQueen, she first and foremost retained her mentor’s hand-done work; because it’s definitely free and uncompromisingly that she thinks up her couture. Among her loyal followers are two singers with sublunary personalities – Bjork and Lady Gaga. The evidence: the meeting between these fantastic universes could only be echoing the futuristic sap of the 29-year old Dutch woman’s creations/ sculptures. Exhibiting in a museum is a given occasion for her to approach the famous mechanics of the garment more closely: the visitor is thus invited to scrutinize the details of the structure, but also the materials used and the way the handwork brings them together. Between art and science, Iris Van Herpen didn’t want to choose: from above new technologies, she attempts to associate, to connect the paradoxes to explore a new femininity within them. And so she is one of the first couturiers to put the surgical precision of 3D printing at the service of her creativity, pushing the boundaries of dreams and creation further; it’s a new visual language made of volumes, energy, proportions, and lesser exploited processes. Nevertheless, her work as an artist is more visible than her work as a stylist; each collection has its inspiration. Actually, the exhibit ties together all the poetry of these totems of a new age with an Ariadne thread.

From her collaborations with scientists and architects, the exhibit recounts her work with materials, mainly leather. Treated with copper, braided, sculpted, or with a porcelain aspect. The result: out-of-the-ordinary dresses. A dozen collections are present in Calais, and more than thirty dresses including the elegant dress made from metallic gas. Upon entering, the first sight is that of a dress fabricated with images of whales from a children’s umbrella. Next comes the leather and mummies section… Finally, the exhibit chronicles five years of pure creation in chronological order. The exhibit will next take off for Atlanta, while the “Splash” dress will depart for Paris to make an appearance at the Centre Pompidou. You can catch it until December 31st at the Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode de Calais, 135, quai du Commerce, Calais, France. Open everyday except Tuesdays. Entry is free as part of the “Moving Textile” program.

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