At her couture fashion show on July fourth, Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen showed how fashion can merge with technology to make truly breathtaking pieces. The designer’s strangely beautiful dresses were inspired by cymatics, or the visual representations of sound waves. The clothing was symmetrical and featured geometric shapes, with textures and patterns resembling honeycombs, insect shells and wings, bubbles, and marine life. The dresses played with volume, dimensions, and material in a unique way.
According to Van Herpen, creating the line took a lot of trial and error. Because she worked with delicate, unconventional fabrics, getting the pieces to come out according to her vision was time consuming. Her “dewdrop dress,” created by suspending Swarovski crystals in a silicone dress, took lots of experimentation to achieve the perfect shape and stretch to make it wearable.
This heavy use of technology and science is rare to find in fashion, especially couture. Couture designers pride themselves on not using mass production methods and utilize “petites mains,” highly skilled craftspeople who sew and decorate the pieces on display in the world’s most extravagant fashion shows. Some pieces from Van Herpen’s show did still require this painstaking handiwork, however. One example is a dress made of tiny handblown glass spheres glued together with liquid silicone. This dress is a perfect example of the designer’s over the top, unforgettable style.