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Instagram of the Week: @fashion.biologique Iris Van Herpen10
Iris Van Herpen, Couture SS20@fashion.biologique

@fashion.biologique takes a deep dive into fashion via the natural world

The captivating Instagram places runway looks next to their flora and fauna lookalikes

“I had a ‘mad scientist’ teacher in grade school named Mr. Tapsfield,” says Jill Sherman, who set up the IG account @fashion.biologique in January. “His classroom looked a bit like a museum of oddities and he encouraged us to really interact with everything and ask a lot of questions.” 

From those early years in the science lab was born a vivid curiosity in the natural world: insects and sea creatures most specifically, though her fascination extends to “everything, really. It’s ever changing, ever evolving, and endlessly wondrous.” Today she communicates that interest in a carefully observed grid of catwalk looks and species of varying intrigue, positioning the two side by side in a Diet Prada fashion, accompanied by captions that riff on David Attenborough’s informed tone. 

“I’ve always loved pattern, form and texture, and I’m drawn to things with intricate detail,” offers Sherman, whose day job lies in advertising. “I get lost in my head just thinking about the beauty of it all. There is so much inspiration in the natural world that most people simply aren’t aware of. Fashion is one of those places you often see biology and art merge in perfect harmony.”

Previously blogging about trends of a similar nature under the banner Trend de la Crème – a preoccupation which dissolved due to illness in 2012 – the introduction of @fashion.biologique followed the revival by Mary Katrantzou of her iconic perfume bottle dresses: “they reminded me of grasshoppers,” says Sherman. The observation was enough to instigate an inspired new attitude, and subsequently the account was established, with pieces from McQueen, Valentino, and Dries Van Noten among those seen across the grid.

While her followers include artists, entomologists, and those who closely follow fashion, as well as architects and “even a neurologist”, Sherman is modest about her catalogue, describing the comparisons as beautiful coincidences. “But it’s fun to think that nature may have played a role,” she clarifies. “My write-ups attempt to explain the connection through the lens of the natural influence. I thought it might make the posts more interesting.”

Preceding Sherman’s unique take on biology’s sartorial impact is one of the ‘gram’s better bios. ‘My father took my VOGUE away, so I read the encyclopedia instead’ reads the page’s tagline, and it bears some truth. “Yes! When I was 10 years old, my father unplugged the television and threw it in the trash behind the house. He said we were becoming zombies staring at a screen and told us to go outside and explore,” she tells us. “We had a complete collection of the Encyclopedia Britannica, so in the evenings I would pull one off the shelf. It sort of replaced evening television for me. I didn’t actually have a TV again until I was 18.”