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A New Fashionista Favorite: Designer Iris van Herpen

If you haven't yet heard the name Iris van Herpen, you soon will. The Dutch fashion designer only graduated from the ARTEZ School of Arts in Arnhem in 2006, but already her unique fashions have been much written about.

Having just shown her fourth collection at Amsterdam's International Fashion Week, it's clear that she continues to push the haute couture envelope. Her previous three collections all featured elaborately constructed fashions that resemble art.

Hardly RTW ('ready to wear' for those non-fashionistas), her designs rival Viktor & Rolf's in their irreverence and craftsmanship and Giles Deacon in imagination. And yes, like all brink designers, in some cases the ensembles are just plain creepy.

above: the designer with one of her models from her fourth collection; Mummified

Her first three collections; Fragile Futurity, Chemical Crows and Refinery Smoke, which were each shown at Amsterdam's Fashion Week, have sculptural 3D elements and intricate fringe or detailing. Below are a few images from each of those collections.

Her first collection, Fragile Futurity:

Her second collection, Chemical Crows:

Her third collection, Refinery Smoke:

from about her latest collection, Mummified:
"Egyptians considered the 'reality' that they created for their deaths as the reality, while their daily life was an illusion". Iris van Herpen

Appearing more like exquisite art masterpieces or elaborate costumes that transcend fashion the new pieces from Iris van Herpen were a stark contrast from anything seen during this year's Amsterdam International Fashion Week. This time, the young avant garde designer let herself be inspired by mummification, one of the important traditions of ancient Egypt.

"The Egyptians tried to 'create' reality by means of their art. They considered the 'reality' that they created for their deaths as the reality, while their daily life was an illusion. In other words, don't believe everything that looks obvious, but create your own reality...This intriguing way of thinking, I have included in the collection", says Van Herpen.

The elaborateness of the creations more than compensated for the size of the collection which numbered 10 hand-made pieces in total. Mummified silhouettes are juxtaposed with unexpected materials reminiscent of industry (or bondage): eyelets, ball chains, buckles, engine chains, metal wire mesh, studs combined with delicate touches like lace or gold foil. Leather, particularly as straps, features heavily throughout. The macabre nature of the theme was balanced by the eccentric detailing finished with utmost craftsmanship while the dark palette was lifted with bronze, cream and dusty pink.

And now, her latest collection for Fall/Winter 2009; Mummified:

Runway photos by Peter Stigter and Michael Zoeter

Photos from credits:
Photography// Michel Zoeter
Production// Roos van Der Hulst @ B creatives Hair// Jennifer Mackintosh @ View Agency Make-up//Maaike Beijer @ Angelique Hoorn Agency Models// Wilma Wakker Mgnt, SPS Mgnt, Elite Mgnt

Above: iris in her atelier

Van Herpen worked as an intern with Alexander McQueen and Claudy Jongstra before striking out on her own.

GENERAL INFO and internships//
T: +31 (0) 6 43586806
address for correspondence: Karel van Gelderstraat 2a, 6828HN

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