Between Reality And Dreaming

Iris van Herpen, perhaps today’s most famous 3-D printing fashion designer, presented her new fall 2016 collection LUCID at Paris Fashion Week. Unlike her previous luxurious and over-the-top designs, high wearability seems to be more important to the designer and the fashion market. ​

The fashion show started with models stepping out in front of giant optical light screens. Those thin screens could be seen as both mirror and window depending on the point of view, the model’s and the viewer’s. The whole runway show was choreographed by the film director and dancer Blanca Li, who is famous for working with Beyonce, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Coldplay and others. Van Herpen described her design of this collection as “between reality and dreaming” and the gorgeous performance perfectly represented the imagination world.

Unlike in previous seasons, 3-D printing is no longer the only technology used to produce Iris van Herpen’s collection. A fresh collaboration with the architect Philip Beesley added more exciting techniques to the 2016 Fall designs, including cool high-tech laser-cutting. Beesley, an expert in visual art and architectural design, is now a professor at the University of Waterloo and the European Graduate School, as well as a director of the Living Architecture Systems Group and and the Riverside Architectural Press. He is skilled at using digital elements and technology to design strong visual effect sculptures and installations.

​The laser-cut multi-shape discs with plastic tubing appeared like chain mail armor, the lucid looks were definitely ready-to-wear sculpture. Van Herpen used the mini cocktail dresses as the basic design and added technology decorations around shoulders and hips to create a glistering bubble-like exoskeleton, a strong Sci-Fi look for the garments. The so-called phantom looks, made of a super light tulle infused with iridescent stripes, shimmering the silhouette illusion. One of the dresses is stitched from 5,000 3D printed elements. Herpen’s garments can be called clothes as well as art. “When I design, the draping process most of the time happens to me unconsciously. I see lucid dreams as a microscope with which I can look into my unconsciousness. In this collection, I have tried to bring my state of ‘reality’ and my state of dreaming, together,” notes the designer.

Compared with Herpen’s previous seasons, this season’s dresses are more wearable than ever, the materials are organic, circular and light. Easy to wear but unique looks would be the trend in the future. The interesting thing is that couple looks will also remind some of the late Alexander McQueen. Undoubtedly, McQueen was famous for his edgy futuristic silhouette designs, and creative deconstruction cutting. Van Herpen probably referenced some of McQueen’s early designs as the inspiration for her 2016 fall collection. We all know fashion is a big cycle, and sometimes, the future can be a trip back in time.

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