Iris van Herpen

Traditional craft and technology combine to conquer the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week.

With a strong focus on materials, textures and technologies, Iris van Herpen’s designs are a feast for the senses, making heads turn at Paris Fashion Week.

Experimenting with a wide range of new material and printing technologies the likes of 3D printing, 'dragon skin' laser cutting, magnetic dresses and musical dresses, Herpen pushes the boundaries of fashion design. She focusses on the creation and the story behind the garment rather than the practical garment as a whole, collaborating with artists and sometimes scientists in order to transform materials into her fascinating creations.

“There is a point where the material rules you, then you rule the material,” Herpen says, and with certain types of technologies you really are able to transform a piece of material into whatever your imagination desires.

Herpen has no specific designs in mind when she sets out to make a garment. Rather, the designer says her process if much more like a labyrinth whereby she hits a series of dead ends, never quite knowing where she will end up. This, she says, is what creation and working with your hands is all about.

Whilst Herpen uses technology as a tool to enhance her work, she also points out the potential negative aspects it presents, such as illegal downloading of creative content like personally downloadable designs. Regardless, she still looks to the future with excitement for potential technologies on the horizon such as 4D printing which present a plethora of opportunity.