In the very special fourth stop of its “cutting-edge” tour, DROME exclusively met nothing less than Iris van Herpen. With its sharp and ravenous look, IN THE VAN didn’t loose the opportunity to interview “the architect of fashion”, that shapes experimental materials using innovative techniques such as 3D printing. On the thin edge of a fashion conceived as artistic handicraft, the work of the young fashion designer from the Netherlands is the result of a constant avant-garde research that has captivated, among many others, two absolute icons of the planetary star system like Björk and Lady Gaga.
During her recent stop in Rome, linked to a talk organized by IED and hosted by MAXXI B.A.S.E, Iris has shyly granted to DROME, telling us something more about her futuristic creations, all strictly hand-made.

Iris van Herpen | Video-interview for IN THE VAN #04 | video by Jacopo Pergameno – music by Databhi

DROME: Which is your fashion’s vision?
IRIS VAN HERPEN: My fashion’s vision is always changing a little bit while I’m creating something. When I started with fashion, I was really thinking out of materials. I started out of hand work as if hand work and materials were my biggest try at that moment, and with those two elements I tried to make fashion in a sense that it is more free that it is only to wear, and for me it’s still a part of art, and I don’t see it as only art or only fashion but I see it as a combination, and I try to show also other identities. I don’t believe that a person has one identity. I really think that everybody has different personalities and we learn to have one in life; in society or in your daily routine you are one person but I think everybody has his under layers, and I try to find, in my own work, also my own under layers as I can be super minimal but I can be also super extravagant.

D: Which is your concept of avant-garde?
IVH: I think people can see my work as avant-garde, but it’s not something I consciously create. I think people have different layers and so, maybe, in my work I look for avant-garde inside somebody, but not expressly.

D: What feeds your creative imaginary and how do you materialize the external propulsion in order to realize your creations?
IVH: The process of how a collection comes is so different every time that at some point I really start out of concept, I start looking for materials that suit the concept and then I look for collaborations with people that can help me, but at some point it’s really the other way around; a collaboration gives me the inspiration for a collection and sometimes it’s the material. With the 3D printing, it’s another whole process again. So I have many different ways of working.

D: Many fashion designers try to underline the beauty of the person wearing their clothes. Your approach seems to go much further, you almost “eliminate” the identity by using masks… is your aim to reinvent the identity of the people that wear your clothes?
IVH: I don’t try to reinvent identities, but to look for the other personalities that are inside people.

D: Let’s talk about extra-fashion influences; which music record, movie and book would you suggest to a young designer?
IVH: It’s hard for me to answer the question, as I never directly get inspired by music, films or books. But, for example, my boyfriend is a musician and he also makes music for my shows. So if I collaborate with him, music, in that sense, can inspire me.

D: Which do you think is the most influential and innovative fashion’s hub?
IVH: I showed in Paris and for me it really is the capital of fashion, but I can imagine that if I’ll show in New York, for example, maybe I could change my mind.

D: Which is your suggestion for a young designer?
IVH: My suggestion for a young designer would be follow your instincts and not think too much, but really follow your instinct.

text by Giulia Fasanella
photos by Jacopo Pergameno for DROME magazine



Discover the next stops of the tour! 


DROME suggests the following exhibition:

Iris van Herpen
Groninger Museum
Museumeiland 1

The Netherlands,  until September 23, 2012