Iris van Herpen likes to feed off other disciplines such as science and architecture for her avant-garde creations, which have earned her a reputation as one of the most innovative designers working today.
She titled her fall collection “Hacking Infinity” and said it was inspired by terraforming, or the process of transforming the biosphere of other planets to make them like Earth. It was an abstract concept, and one that could not immediately be read in the clothes.
There were new fabric experiments — a translucent stainless-steel weave and a honeycomblike 3-D handwoven material with frayed edges. Both were introduced in the opening look, a sheer sleeveless top and short skirt. It laid a foundation for the soft vs. hard contrasts that ran through the show and climaxed with an off-the-shoulder bustier jumpsuit with a wide belt of sheer optical lighting film that distorted the waist — a novel way to achieve an hourglass figure.
Among the other showcase pieces were digitally fabricated dresses made from spiky black plastic, created with architect Philip Beesley, and towering shoes sprouting chunky crystals on the soles, a collaboration with Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana (of Lady Gaga fame).
Despite a bone-shuddering soundtrack, the display somewhat lost steam with the less-conceptual looks, such as tight dresses in Fortuny-style pleats or a black satin wrap coat that resembled a hair salon robe. There were flashes of brilliance — as in a cocktail dress with hand-burnished swirls that spread into a pleated fan covering the face. But van Herpen has yet to sketch out a clear vision of how she will translate her conceptual ideas into a viable ready-to-wear brand.