“Can I have a blackout please?” shouted a female voice in the dark, addressing the showgoers basking in the glow of their smartphones. Iris van Herpen’s 10th anniversary show would not start until the audience was fully present for the experience about to unfold.

What gradually emerged from the gloom was stranger than anyone could have predicted: four large water tanks, each containing a musician. The members of Danish underwater group Between Music provided the eerie soundtrack to the show, which fittingly had an aquatic theme.

“It was definitely about finding lightness but within the darkness. I mean, the installation and the musicians for me represent a beautiful darkness as well, so I’ve tried to create both. But the base was air and water, so it has been very much about fluidity,” the designer said backstage.

Van Herpen used avant-garde techniques to create rippling white patterns on transparent tulle gowns, or pleated moiré-patterned organza into a short dress with undulating ruffles. Silver lace was laser-cut into tiny slivers to create three-dimensional wave patterns that mimicked the shimmering surface of water.

This airy touch extended to her more experimental creations, such as cloudlike dresses made from a feather-light metal lace cut into three-dimensional floral patterns. Best of all, though, was a sheer off-the-shoulder gown heat-bonded with a wavy pattern: It looked as weightless as a jellyfish.

More From Paris Haute Couture Week Fall 2017:

Atelier Versace Couture Fall 2017: The collection blended Baroque references and rock ‘n’ roll — with a soupçon of 3-D printing.

Paris to Honor Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel Couture Show: Mayor Anne Hidalgo is to decorate the couturier with a Grand Vermeil medal, the city’s highest distinction.

Paris Couture Gains Extra Day as Confidence Returns: France’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture has welcomed five brands as guest members on this season’s schedule.

Couture Week Tells Its Stories on Instagram: The French fashion federation reiterates its social initiatives with a cadre of 11 influential guest posters capturing the mood of a week of couture shenanigans.

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