PARIS — After five years of pushing the envelope of couture with her futuristic creations, Iris van Herpen is ready to expand into ready-to-wear.
The Dutch designer, whose fans include Björk and Lady Gaga, is scheduled to present her debut women’s collection during showroom appointments starting next month, the first step toward establishing a full rtw and accessories business.
“It’s really an extension of the haute couture,” the affable 28-year-old told WWD in the Paris showroom of her public relations agency, RMO, sitting in front of a rack bursting with her sculptural made-to-measure creations, which combine cutting-edge technology with painstaking handwork.
“I took five years to develop the techniques and materials and do a lot of experiments, and it sort of became my base, my way of thinking,” she said of couture. “But at the same time, now I feel it’s also nice to take the next step and to translate it into something that is reaching out to more people.”
The first rtw collection, titled Phy-tha-go-rash, was inspired by “Trees of Pythagoras,” a book of paintings based on fractal geometry by Dutch artist Bruno Ernst.
“The focus now is more on patterns than before, because we want this perfect fit. In the haute couture, you’re much more transforming the body. In the ready-to-wear, you’re much more going to try to flow, or to conform to the body, because you want to be comfortable in it all day,” she said.
Van Herpen hopes the line, consisting of a dozen looks, or roughly 24 stockkeeping units, will be picked up by some 20 selective retailers worldwide.
Using innovative materials such as laser-cut Plexiglas spikes, and leather treated with lace or foil, items are priced to retail from 600 euros, or $775 at current exchange, for knitwear to 5,500 euros, or $7,120, for a dress. She has designed a collection of feral-looking shoes, produced in collaboration with United Nude, and hopes to introduce her first handbag later this year.
A graduate of the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands, van Herpen has worked with artists ranging from choreographer Nanine Linning to architect Daniel Widrig on her pioneering techniques, which include a three-dimensional printed dress selected by Time magazine as one of “The 50 Best Inventions” of 2011.
She hopes to bring the same collaborative approach to rtw. For her first advertising campaign, she has enlisted Canadian musician Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, as model and muse. Grimes, who appears in teaser visuals shot in New York, will be photographed performing in outfits from the collection, van Herpen said.
The designer has already garnered the attention of the art world. The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands last year staged the first large-scale solo exhibition of her work, which will travel in June to the Cité internationale de la dentelle et de la mode in Calais, France.
Though her sensibilities run to the avant-garde, van Herpen hopes her clothes will appeal to a wide range of women.
“It’s not my intention to make that woman feel like a Gaga or a Björk, because I think it’s much more important to focus on the woman that is wearing it. I’m not trying to change the identity of a woman or trying to change the way she feels,” she said.
“Of course, I hope they get a sort of relation with the art and the work that I’ve been involved with, because the process of getting to that ready-to-wear collection is much more complex and long than a usual ready-to-wear collection, because it’s so connected to the haute couture. And I hope that’s feel-able when you wear it,” she added.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)