Fashion Forward: Boundary-Pushing Designer Iris van Herpen’s Latest Creation

The innovative designer van Herpen creates a dress based on water as part of a live fashion film collaboration

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Courtesy of Nick Knight and SHOWstudio

Daphne Guinness wears Iris van Herpen's completed Crystallization dress.

The concept of a water dress may seem like an oxymoron to most designers, but Iris van Herpen is not most designers. A true creative thinker who loves to experiment with digital technology, she has teamed up with Nick Knight’s fashion film website SHOWstudio to create a Crystallization dress inspired by H2O. Van Herpen told SHOWstudio, “I grew up near the water so it has always been my view and my playground…As a fashion designer it is not really possible to work with it. It’s nice to have found a way to be inspired by it.”

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To kickstart the process, legendary shutterbug Knight filmed stylesetter Daphne Guinness being splashed with both clear and black water. This footage was then given to van Herpen, who worked for a week designing a unique garment made out of a form of acrylic, similar to plexiglass, that is malleable when heated. All these developments were broadcast live on SHOWstudio online, where viewers were also able to pose questions to van Herpen and the other collaborators involved: visual artist Geoffrey Lillemon and sound artist Salvador Breed, who are working on a film and soundscape as companion pieces to the dress.

By opening herself up to the public, van Herpen has exposed the unique way she employs state-of-the-art technologies with a visionary eye, as well as upended a design process that is traditionally much more opaque. And such a project is right up Knight’s alley. He founded SHOWstudio in 2000, which has since become a home for creative, outside-the box fashion films and initiatives.

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