Is the World Ours?

Published March 18, 2015

For Fall 2015, Iris van Herpen sought to explore the cross section of space, time, and intention with a collection aptly named “Hacking Infinity.” The Dutch designer, best known for her signature mix of organic and inorganic materials (including 3-D printing), said she wants to begin to understand the intention behind terraforming.

“Making a collection is a journey,” van Herpen shares with us over tea. “As NASA investigates the probability of creating life on other planets, I wonder if we are taking something that might not be originally ours,” the 30-year-old designer continues. “I’m not judging it, I think it could be cool, but I do want to question it.”

Though this concept might seem a tad heady, van Herpen’s collection is otherwise grounded. A circular silhouette—”The circle is a way to investigate space around body”—is used throughout, whether in its literal form, or cut into patterns, perhaps to represent life and its continuous cycle.

New for van Herpen is the use of color. In addition to her signature palette of neutrals, she used a traditional glass blowing technique to infuse her latest collection with an abstract constellation of swirls reminiscent of Orion’s belt. A fine mesh material made from microscopic stainless steel threads that feel like fabric creates color, mostly earthy blues and reds, when burned.

In comparison to last year’s outing (yes, the one with models vacuum sealed and suspended above the runway), this collection is rather sober, save for the urchin-like dresses that appeared towards the show’s end. The spectacular trio of prickly party frocks in black, or one strapless showstopper in gelatinous lilac, could easily find a home on the backs of many a pretty young thing.

“I’m finding balance between creating the really special, couture pieces for private clients,” van Herpen continued, “mixed with more traditional ones that are still true to my design sensibilities.”