Iris Van Herpen’s latest collection is one influenced by the increasing digitalization of the world around us – which affects both her technique and designs. As always on her catwalk, art, fashion and sculpture melt into one, bringing in materials commonly used for product design and architecture. Short dresses with the appearance of scales, white scrunched plastic that looked like Game Boy cloud animation, gigantic, curved shoulder pads resembling sketches on Adobe Illustrator – we had to squint to realize we weren’t looking at a 3D animation. As for the hats, courtesy of hat maestro Stephen Jones, they were made out of technological bits and pieces. Remnants of computers and loud speakers were worn as head pieces, swaying to the sound of modem-like beeps. After this trip into our computer, we met Iris who told us about her literal and philosophical exploration of technology.
Dazed Digital: Where do you draw the line between art, fashion and product design? Iris Van Herpen: It’s a mix of everything. It’s important to work round the body, and my work is about fabric, shape and new techniques. I used a lot of fabrics commonly used in architecture –I like to bring new techniques into fashion, because otherwise I cannot breathe nor continue creating.
DD: You said digital technology was a core influence of the collection – how has it impacted on the clothes? Iris Van Herpen: There is a lot of digital knowledge in the clothes, all pieces are made by machines: first designed on the computer then put through other programmes and then it is made by laser. All pieces are very difficult techniques that I cannot only do by hand. So there is a lot of digital technique involved in the collection combined with handwork.
DD: Do people view fashion differently because of technology? Iris Van Herpen: Yes, it’s all going more quickly, people know they can look anything up on the internet rather than going to an exhibition, it changes everything.
DD: Are these positive changes? Iris Van Herpen: Change is good, but at the same time I want to take advantage of these changes, I try to take old and new techniques into my practice and combine it into my clothing.