Iris van Herpen Exhibit Review

Thanks to my intern, Kelly, for writing this chic review!

Photograph captured by Brooke Genn of Brooke and Wilhelm Photography

What do Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Effie from The Hunger Games all have in common? Each of these women have all been adorned by Iris van Herpen’s iconic pieces. Now, you also can experience these priceless collections at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Known for her avant-garde sculptural designs, van Herpen works in collaboration with pioneers of technology, engineers, and architects to make her artistic visions come to life. Due to the complex nature of her designs and the materials used in their creation, van Herpen merged science and technology into fashion by 3D printing pieces in her collections. This innovative approach to design had never before been shown on high fashion runways. It is both beautiful and technical- technically beautiful.

Photograph captured by Brooke Genn of Brooke and Wilhelm Photography

 

The exhibit commands an air of reverence and awe as you explore both galleries. The dimmed overhead lighting sets the ambiance while spotlights create beautiful silhouettes on the striking pieces; a combination which takes your breath away and makes you feel as if you must speak in hushed tones out of respect for the art.

“For me, fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression,” says van Herpen of her artistic philosophy.

Photograph captured by Brooke Genn of Brooke and Wilhelm Photography

van Herpen’s artistic philosophy is glaringly evident throughout her fashion collections due to the intention and clear inspirations guiding their creation. Each choice of material, each fold, each metallic detail is purposefully chaotic and invokes a reaction within the self. Everything van Herpen creates is inspired by a unique aspect of life- whether it be cellular, nuclear, magnetic, electric or the very simple magic that is water.

Photograph captured by Brooke Genn of Brooke and Wilhelm Photography

The texture and exquisite nature of the designs begs you to reach out and touch them-it took much restraint to not feel each of the pieces! But do not be discouraged; there is an interactive, sensory portion of the exhibit where you can physically experience the creations.

The exhibit also includes a video showcase of the most recent runways that have been graced by van Herpen’s collections. The shows themselves are performance art; set to heavy, tribal music, each is individual and drastically different all while carrying the same sense of awe and reverence towards what is being presented.

Photograph captured by Brooke Genn of Brooke and Wilhelm Photography

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is open to the public at the Cincinnati Art Museum from October 13, 2017–January 7, 2018. For more information, please visit cincinnatiartmuseum.org/transformingfashion .

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