Most fashion designers tend to prefer needle and thread to 3D printing, but it’s slap bang in the middle of that grey area, where clothing overlaps with science and technology, that Iris van Herpen is happiest. She often uses 3D printing, high-tech fabrics and scientific studies to create her garments, experimenting with technology, electricity and biology to achieve boundary-pushing visual effects.
This season she took her practice one step further to incorporate performance, collaborating with artist Lawrence Malstaf, who specialises “in the interaction between biology and physicality.” Together they vacuum-packed a group of models, suspending them in embryonic “human installations” along the edge of the catwalk. The result was an eery, foetus-like addition to the concept of “Biopiracy” which underpinned the entire show. By creating artificial, voluminous and organic effects through her clothing, Iris looked to question topics such as the purchase of genetics and who really owns our bodies.
Crane.tv made a short film with Iris before the show, in which she discusses her references, her inspiration and the directions she hopes to explore in future collections. “Technology for me is not like a source of inspiration, it’s a tool to help you transform your techniques,” she explains. “It really depends what you do with that tool. For example, if I were to 3D print my entire ready-to-wear, maybe people could illegally download all the files. You never know, it would become a vague area.”