IRIS VAN HERPEN
Iris van Herpen shows her latest collection ‘Roots of Rebirth’ during Paris Haute Couture Week on January 25th 2021. During such rarefied times, the designer explores a symbiosis of high technology and the artisanal craftsmanship of couture, through a collection that references the intricacy of fungi and the entanglement of life that breathes beneath our feet. Through ‘Roots of Rebirth’, Van Herpen notions towards the miraculous lacery of interconnectedness from the natural ‘wood wide web,’ weaving a dialogue between the terrestrial and the underworld.
The work of Iris van Herpen is often described as ethereal and transcendental; a chimeric exposition, radiating shapes that reference the relationship between the human body and the natural world. This season, the Dutch designer explores the rich, yet deeply fragile interconnectedness of an unfamiliar world, the enigmatic fungi empire and the life-bearing fine threads of mycelium. The collection details the extraordinary existence of this winding ‘fabric of life,’ the marveling world of undergrowth tapestry. In reference to the book penned by scientist Merlin Sheldrake, ‘Entangled Life’ notes that ‘fungi is the ecological connective tissue, the living seam by which much of the world is stitched into relation.’
The interlaced organism has truly shaped our surroundings, despite its often unseen efforts underground, it underpins Earth’s ecosystems. Through the infinite interactions beyond our daily comprehension, these networks embody undiscovered growth and intelligence. It is this ‘ecological connective tissue’ that enhances the circle of life, and its constant exchange of information bares many parallels with urban environments. The primordial appearance of mycelium threads, in constant communication, are microcosmic of our functioning society, from the circulatory system within us; branches of trees; rivers touring through landscapes; to the modern ingenuity of transport or the digital web of the internet.
‘Roots of Rebirth’ extends its own branch, an invitation to a sequence of 21 looks inspired by roots and spores. During the show, the models seem to magnetize a living lace of spores with each stride, the entanglement of each garment resembles roots of regeneration. Two looks embody the ‘henosis’ technique, in which multiple translucent layers of duchess fabric were dyed in pastel hues, forming a ‘mantodea’ motif. An off-white laser-cut venation formed by a myriad of hovering fins sprout outwards, radiating each motion into a delicate lacy array of invisible interconnectedness. In other creations, hand-embroidered roots surge and symmetrically entwine the body in transformative tones, from liquid copper to deep shades of burnt umber. Hand-pleated mahogany silk were draped to fan out into hemispheric blooms.
Iris van Herpen amplifies her kinetic ethos, citing the constant state of metamorphosis in the fungi queendom. Two kinetic crowns were created in collaboration with artist Casey Curran, each gently shape-shifting their silhouette, continuously re-framing the visage. Eighteen transparent monofilament threads snake their way through a series of 18 brass coils, arranged to create a serpentine motion in the lifting and falling of each quill, symbolic of the turbulent motion of our minds, through which we rectify our reality.
The unseen splendor of each garment echoes fungi activity, in which glass-organza were intricately pleated in an ombré of white to vivid amber, branching out from a hand-embroidered bodice to form fractal networks. A mosaic of fine-edged liquescent gills were 3D embroidered onto expandable lace, laser-cut to parametrically reveal fine details of skin between amethyst hued fibre. As fungi maps the skin of the earth, such is also the composition of Van Herpen’s Haute Couture. In another look, upcycled fabric made from marine debris by Parley for the Oceans was printed and incised into thousands of fine trilateral tessellations, initiating a fragile symbiosis with the skin through seamless gradients in translucency.
The mysteries of the undergrowth influence the composition of our sacred planet so selflessly through shape-shifting silhouettes that bring the promise of a renaissance and regeneration. The collection is a performance dedicated to the importance of our being and the valiance of nature. With the persistence of time, evolution prevails, and while these beings are never truly fixed, they exist merely in a state of flux, a rippling fabric of life itself, dancing to the benevolent beat of rebirth.
’ROOTS OF REBIRTH’
Spring Summer 2021
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Literature: Entangled Life | Merlin Sheldrake
Natalia Vodianova & Axelle de Ponsay | Viva Model Management
Sevdaliza & Lijne Kreupeling, Nigel van Ommeren | For Artistic Reasons, Headfirst Music Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode
Styling: Patti Wilson
Director: Eugene Yeap
Original Soundtrack: Maarten Vos & Salvador Breed Supporting Vocals: Bluecid by Sevdaliza Casting: Maxime Valentini
Kinetic Headpieces: Casey Curran Footwear Collaboration: Kira Goodey Eco-Innovation Partner: Parley for the Oceans
Models: Natalia Vodianova, Sevdaliza, Awa Diallo, Adama Jobe, Alyssa Traore, Britt van den Herik, Damaris Goddrie, Nikki Vonsee, Nina Gulien, Nyarach Ayuel & Rosie Ehimwenma
Make-up: Chiao Li Hsu, Emma de Boer & the MAC PRO Team
Hair: Olivier Schawalder, Sadek Lardjane, Ilham Mestour & Team | Bryant Artists Nail Art: Eichi Matsunaga
Director of Photography & Colour Grading: 4eyes
Show Videography: Jesse Jay Kroon, Thom Schrama, Rollo van Wijk, Diès Kroon & Jip Mus Show Editing: Arnaud Batog
Digital Scenography: Misha Shyukin & Hannes Hummel | Shy Studio
Show Photography: Gio Staiano
Backstage & First Looks Photography: Molly SJ Lowe
Process Videography: Jip Mus
Editorial Photography: Myrthe Giesbers, Gijs van de Veerdonk, Pim van Baalen Editorial Backdrop Photography: Petros Koublis
Collection Essay: Scarlett Baker
Illustrations Artwork: Nastya Kuzmina
Site Production: Jonas Kraft, Eddy Dijkstra, Oskar Glasbergen, Tom Lavrenenko, Aziez Kassim | POPKRAFT Light Design: Stefan Prokop