Runway revolutionary: ‘Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion’ at Cincinnati Art Museum

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), The Netherlands, Chemical Crows, Skirt, Collar, January 2008, ribs of children’s umbrellas, industrial boat yarns, cow leather and metal eyelets, Groninger Museum, 2012.0191.a-b, © Iris van Herpen. Photo by Michel Zoeter

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), The Netherlands, Chemical Crows, Skirt, Collar, January 2008, ribs of children’s umbrellas, industrial boat yarns, cow leather and metal eyelets, Groninger Museum, 2012.0191.a-b, © Iris van Herpen. Photo by Michel Zoeter

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen takes style into the future, and soon the acclaimed artist will bring her work to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The exhibit, “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion,” which runs Oct. 13-Jan. 7, will showcase avant-garde garments that combine art, engineering, architecture and science.

Credited with introducing 3-D printing to fashion, Van Herpen seamlessly blends high-tech processes with traditional handwork, creating imaginative sculptural garments from materials as diverse as metal umbrella ribs, industrial yarns, woven metal, leather strips and transparent acrylic.

Celebrities who have worn her work include Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton, Beyonce and Bjork, and her styles have graced the runways of Amsterdam, London and Paris.

“Transforming Fashion” showcases 45 outfits from 15 collections and nine pairs of shoes. The exhibition also includes examples of Van Herpen’s innovative materials, with examples available to touch.

Visitors will learn about her partnerships with architects, designers, scientists and 3-D printing companies.

Guided by intuition in her creative process, Van Herpen designs collections that are both wearable and sculptural.

While studying at the ArtEZ Institute of Arts in Arnhem, Netherlands, Van Herpen held internships with Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. In 2011, at age 27, Van Herpen became the youngest person to exhibit in the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and in 2014 she was awarded the prestigious ANDAM Award. Her designs are featured in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in

Boston and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), The Netherlands, Hybrid Holism, Dress, July 2012, 3-D printed UV-curable polymer, in collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise, High Museum of Art, Supported by the Friends of Iris van Herpen, 2015.170. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), The Netherlands, Hybrid Holism, Dress, July 2012, 3-D printed UV-curable polymer, in collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise, High Museum of Art, Supported by the Friends of Iris van Herpen, 2015.170. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), “Hacking Infinity, Shoes,” 2015, laser-cut cow leather, 3-D printed photopolymer and stereolithography resin, in collaboration with Noritaka Tatehana and 3-D Systems, Collection of the designer. Photograph © NORITAKA TATEHANA

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984), “Hacking Infinity, Shoes,” 2015, laser-cut cow leather, 3-D printed photopolymer and stereolithography resin, in collaboration with Noritaka Tatehana and 3-D Systems, Collection of the designer. Photograph © NORITAKA TATEHANA

“For me, fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression,” said Van Herpen.

“For each collection, Iris has a vision of what she wants to create and then problem-solves to make it a reality,” said Cynthia Amneus, CAM’s curator of fashion arts and textiles. “That is what artists do. They are not bound by the perceived limits of their materials. Iris has often accomplished this through her collaborations with engineers, architects and artists in other fields. It is inspiring to see this very 21st century intersection of art and innovative technology in her work.”

“Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion” is presented by PNC with additional support from the Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation.

Special exhibition tickets are required for admission. All ticketed exhibitions are free for museum members.

On Oct. 14, Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, will share insights and anecdotes about working with Van Herpen.

cincinnatiartmuseum.org/transformingfashion

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