Iris Van Herpen Explores Life Beyond the Physical Realm for A/W 22 Couture

Iris Van Herpen Explores Life Beyond the Physical Realm for A/W 22 Couture

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Iris Van Herpen Explores Life Beyond the Physical Realm for A/W 22 Couture

The groundbreaking designer continued to push the mold forward with a transcendent show for couture week in Paris.

The groundbreaking designer continued to push the mold forward with a transcendent show for couture week in Paris.

Text: Ellie Beeck

Iris Van Herpen, fashion’s most future-forward designer, looked to the past for her Autumn/Winter 2022 couture show. Inspired by the many identities from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, from Arachne, to Narcissus, to Apollo, to Daphne, the collection explores oscillating identities and life beyond our physical bodies. 

A look from the Iris Van Herpen AW 22 couture show.

Of course, Herpen didn’t forget the future, crafting the collection with eye on the metaverse. As such, the collection, which explores both hyperreality in the digital realm and expands upon introspection in fashion, is called Meta Morphosis (emphasis on the “meta.”) 

Though the “meta” component of the collection couldn’t be showcased in Paris, Herpen worked with a team from Microsoft to create a mixed runway experience, where digital avatars as seen through HoloLens 2 technology were set to walk alongside models, coexisting in their multiple realities.  

Despite the technical difficulties (the Microsoft team got sick) the Meta Morphosis show still paid homage to Ovid’s centuries-old theme of transhumanism, and the modern theme of blurred lines between physical and digital.  

A look from the Iris Van Herpen AW 22 couture show.

The collection, which was the brand’s 15th anniversary showcase, included 16 couture looks, built upon Herpen’s prior technological innovations, like the 3-D printed dresses from 2009. With gradient dyes, unspun laces, and translucent layers, the collection reimagines some of the brand’s most iconic looks from years past. As is traditional for Herpen, the collection mostly stuck with a general color scheme of light and dark, though there were some unusual shades of amethyst and metallic copper.  

A look from the Iris Van Herpen AW 22 couture show.

Herpen worked with Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dro to create the 3-D printed ‘Singularity’ jumpsuit, using sustainable materials like cocoa shell beans. Other sustainable elements include a biodegradable silk from a species of banana called ‘Abaca’, native to the Philippines, created by ForWeavers, and 100 percent recycled Mylar from Solaris.

A look from the Iris Van Herpen AW 22 couture show.

The use of upcycled materials works to further eliminate the distinctions between man and nature, physical and digital. Herpen also worked with sculptor Casey Curran to create a statue of a future Daphne, bursting from the center of the runway.  

A look from the Iris Van Herpen AW 22 couture show.

By continuing to push the limits of fashion, Herpen has cemented herself as a designer of the future - the Meta Morphosis collection is merely proof of that.

Credits: Images courtesy of Iris Van Herpen.

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