Would you wear a sound wave? At the July 4 couture shows in Paris, that’s what models did as they presented Iris Van Herpen’s striking collection for fall 2016. In the Eglise Réformée de L’Oratoire du Louvre, the models, clad in Van Herpen’s couture, moved meditatively to the accompaniment of Zen bowl sounds by Japanese musician Kazuya Nagaya, creating an otherworldly fusion of visual art and music.
Designed as an homage to the field of cymatics, which is the visualization of sound waves as geometric patterns, Van Herpen’s high-fashion creations are delicate, strange, and beautiful in much the same way that patterns found throughout nature are. Though they don’t resemble traditional fashion items – indeed, it would be hard to pull off wearing Van Herpen’s sound-inspired garments anywhere outside a fashion show – the dresses are fascinating in their odd, intricate design as well as the technology used to painstakingly assemble them.
Van Herpen has a history of integrating cutting-edge technology into her fashion designs. To create her collection for fall 2016, Van Herpen used unusual materials such as thousands of tiny, hand-blown glass bubbles, translucent material made of Swarovski water drop crystals in silicone, and fragile Japanese organza woven from threads five times thinner than human hair. Arresting and memorable, Van Herpen’s fusion of geometry, sound, and ingenious craft will charm lovers of science and creative fashion alike.