An Imagined Conversation with Iris Van Herpen AW15

Hi Iris van Herpen AW15, you look out of this world! We would love for you to tell us more about how this collection found its way from outer space to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris?
Afternoon! I must say it’s been a hell of a journey, so much to see and do and as ever so little time. It all started when Iris became a little obsessed with the idea of terraforming, do you have much of a science background? Haha, look at me! We are totally into all things science, it absolutely blows us away and captures our imagination but unfortunately our scientific knowledge is pretty limited…

Okay, i will take it from the to: in a non-fashion sense the term ‘terraforming’ means changing astrological aspects such as the atmosphere, temperature and ecology of moons and planets to mirror those of Earth. It’s not all as serious as it sounds because terraforming used to be thought of as purely a science fiction phenomenon; then actual scientists started thinking about it too. This concept inspired Iris to think about wider questions such as  ‘what is our space?’ and ‘what should we do with it?’… Yes i know what you are thinking, how conceptual! One way she brought this to life was creating these unique fabrics and textures, see the image below.

Iris van Herpen

Yes indeed, a very concept-driven collection. Does having such a strong specific concept hinder the design process?

I would say the opposite happens. You become so obsessed with an idea,  it’s like a tunnel and the further down you go the more doors open in terms of inspiration. You think of things that you wouldn’t have thought of without such a strong starting point; sometimes they are quite literal but others are truly exciting. We have a dress made of a new fabric which was formed by combining stainless steel and silk. It’s a kind of evolution too: fabrics that suit the needs of the modern world.

Having said that, we all know that fashion isn’t the best reflection of what is ‘normal’ on earth – if anything it can be pretty alienating at times!

We couldn’t agree with you more. Over Fashion Week we saw some fabulous human beings who transformed themselves into spacey creatures. And the catwalks themselves are otherworldly thanks to the heady combination of music, lighting, models, hair, makeup and of course the clothes.
Totally, that is the whole point. When curating a fashion show/presentation, you have to create something new, something that captivates the audience and ignites their imagination.  For our show the models were very pared back: they had minimal makeup and the hair was tightly slicked back in order to compliment the clothes. On top of this, the clothes that were styled in the least fussy way possible, and the girls were walking down a very stark catwalk.

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What excited you the most about the collection?
It would have to be the ‘oil slick’ colour of some of the fabrics. Pink, i know that you are completely besotted by anything that has a shimmery/merging colour – like you, we could stare at it for hours, wishing we saw everything as an iridescent rainbow. There is another thing too, check out the rocks on our feet. They were a collaboration with Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana, these are no ordinary crystal they are 3-D printed crystals, they make you feel like you are floating in space.

Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen shoes


The colours really did bring the show to life, the jewels in oranges and reds also really stood out…
Ah ha! Yes! More earthly undercurrents going on there.


Iris van Herpen

Do you have any more trips to space planned?

We’ll we need inspiration for the new collection, it would also be cool if we found some martian friends up there too.

Have you seen the movie Barbarella starring Jane Fonda? Some of her babin sci-fi outfit remind me of this look, especially the chain mail vibe that’s going on at the top.

Jane Fonda as Barbarella and Iris van Herpen

Look at those chainmail knickers too! No, we’ll have to beam ourselves back to 1968 for that – looks like fun, although thanks for warning us about that nasty Mathmos. Anyway sorry, NASA are on the other line so got to shoot, but speak soon when we’re back from the clutches of The Tyrant!

Good luck