Iris van Herpen: Where Fashion, Art, Architecture and Engineering collide

What does fashion mean to you? It could be the clothing hanging in your closets, the beautiful pictures of celebrities in the magazines, or a unique accessory you love to wear that expresses your personality.

If you missed the recent Iris van Herpen exhibit in Cincinnati, here is a quick overview of our impressions and how it change our mindset on the definition of fashion.

My first impression of the exhibit was ‘sculpture’ and ‘did people really wear these garments?’ The garments didn’t look like anything my closet--that's for sure. They were larger-than-life and the materials ranged from acrylics to umbrella ribs to leather. It transcends clothing: works of art that embodies dimension, movement, and innovation.

Iris van Herpen’s designs intersect fine craftsmanship and high tech 3D printing. Acrylics are hand sculpted, leather is meticulously stitched. The materials begged to be touched, and thankfully this exhibit had an area to explore the different materials she used in her fashion.

Tactile materials, this was soft and spiky.

Classically trained in ballet, Iris van Herpen is inspired by movement, which is very evident in this exhibit.

Meticulous handcrafted metallic leather strips depict flowing movement.

White acrylic spines on black fabric give an other-worldly illusion.

Hand sculpted clear acrylic inspired by splashing water.

Acrylic ‘feathers’ take flight.

“I don’t think of fashion as being clothes, or a discipline. I think of it being much more. I see fashion as a dialogue between our inside and our outside.

For me fashion is a form of art that is close related to me and my body. I see it as a very personal expression of identity combined with desire, mood and culture.” Iris van Herpen.

This piece embodies this sentiment perfectly for me. The skeletal frame brings the inside out

Art, architecture and engineering come together in her work and materials.

This piece reminds me of gothic cathedrals with the intricate structural ribs.

Unusual materials, such as umbrella ribs, are re-engineered into wearable sculpture.

Metallic strips are crafted in sleek geometries.

It's amazing how architecture, form, and design shows up in so many different expressions in completely different industries. Understanding how materials, visual depth, and style can combine to make breathtaking products--whether its a storefront, an optical display, or a gorgeous line of clothes.

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