Iris van Herpen Made Prickly, Watery Cocoons for Paris Fashion Week


Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s ideas are perpetually voluminous, unhindered by limitations of fabric: if she can’t find the material she wants in the known universe, she just invents it. That’s what happened (again) with her stunning Fall 2015 show in Paris this week, in which she transformed her models into raw minerals and crystals, stalactites and cobwebs and other things you would find in a cave.

The most conventional pieces in the collection were dresses and suits that looked like oil slicks pooling around the models’ bodies, flouncy-armed gowns plopping as they walked down the runway. They all looked like tadpoles, to be honest, extra pale and new to this earth; though the cuts were a bit more traditional than van Herpen’s been of late (keyhole necklines are a far cry from, you know, hermetically sealed ziploc baggies), she still presented some dresses that looked like iridescent spores, and also a jumpsuit that looked virtually immutable with a clear waist panel that was possibly loaded with water, distorting the model’s belly into a wormy version of itself. The 3-D printed pieces were, as ever, the best—fuck a dress, wear a lanyard—and the opening cocoon thing was my favorite, in all its crystalline, unfathomably crafted beauty. She seemed to be inspired not by a creepy vision of a sterile future this season, but by the natural weirdness in nature if you look at it with a powerful enough microscope.

Björk is a noted fan of Iris (see: her bulbous Biophilia dresses), as are Lady Gaga and Grimes, who appeared in van Herpen ads, if you can believe it. It’s easy to see any of them in these dresses, but the real challenge would be if someone super mainstream—say, Jennifer Lawrence or like, even ScarJo—wore one of these on a red carpet somewhere. Wouldn’t J.Law look great in the round plastic number with the pockets? DOOO IT.

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