Although my schedule was packed during my whistlestop visit to Pittsburgh, I made sure to make time to see the sensational new exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art by the extraordinary young Dutch fashion designer, Iris Van Herpen.
Van Herpen's creations go beyond fashion and at just 32 she is recognized and celebrated for a unique artistry, that brings together 3D technology with more traditional methods of dressmaking, embracing a singular design sensibility she calls "New Couture." As stated in her online bio, Van Herpen is "pushing the boundaries of fashion design, inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials into her unique aesthetic vision."
Before her current show Transforming Fashion, Van Herpen won critical acclaim when the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired and showed 6 of her outfits at the wildly successful Manus x Machina Fashion in the Age of Technology group show last year.
A member of the Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture, Halpern has found her place on the exclusive Haute Couture calendar since 2011. As you can imagine, these outfits are perfect for particularly fearless forward thinking artists and actresses such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Björk, and Tilda Swinton, all of whom were honored to wear her creations. If you're considering a Van Herpen couture item, be aware that one of the things she will ask is whether you plan to sit down during the time you're wearing it.
This rather ethereal creation and the one below are from the Refinery Smoke Collection July 2008 and is "based on the astonishing beauty, ambiguity and elusiveness of industrial smoke...Van Herpen manifested these ideas in a metal gauze that she had specially woven for the Refinery Smoke Collection." Taken from notes shown alongside the outfits
Close up of the metal gauze bolero worn atop a handwoven mini skirt - maybe this is one outfit you could possibly sit in!
Synethesthesia February 2010 Collection: Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition that results in a combination of sensory perceptions. For instance some people can taste colors and see sounds...Using specially treated leather coated on one side with shiny metal foil, she created a striking and bewildering visual effect that makes it difficult for the viewer to recognize exactly what he or she is seeing. Taken from notes shown alongside the outfits
This one is my favorite - made from cut intricately handwoven strips of leather
Escapism January 2011 Collection: this outfit is from a collection about escaping from everyday reality through addictive digital entertainment...Van Herpen has expressed this multilayered dystopian fantasy through various material experiments, making use of both traditional handwork techniques and new technology. Taken from notes shown alongside the outfits
I have a lot of respect for the model who had to teeter down the runway in these
Avant-garde shoe collection - though gorgeous, certainly not for the faint of heart