One young Dutch talent is making everyone sit up and take notice of her futuristic, head-swiveling designs.

Copyright: Iris van Herpen & Michel Zoeter

INTERVIEW High-tech meets sci-fi

in Iris Van Herpen’s catwalk couture collection

Maverick designer Iris Van Herpen has been likened to Alexander McQueen but ‘with a computer geek’s soul’! She interned with him at the start of her stellar career, which makes the comparison inevitable.

“When it comes to new ideas, I do a lot of research into science and architecture,” she says, explaining why her creations have more than a hint of high-tech with a soupçon of sculptural sci-fi: a mini dress from her Fall/Winter 2011/12 collection, for example, was an arresting mass of rubberized, Medusa-like coils. She often uses Adobe Photoshop when she’s designing, and she works with architects to make 3-D models.

Copyright: Ioulex

Born in Wamel in The Netherlands, Van Herpen studied Fashion Design at ARTEZ in Arnhem, was awarded the Mercedes Benz Dutch Fashion Award in 2010 and presented at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in January 2011. Her cool status was confirmed after designing singer Björk’s astonishing frock for her Biophilia album cover, resulting in the quirky Icelander becoming a diehard Van Herpen fan.

She has also branched out into shoe design. For United Nude she created the precarious-looking ‘Thorn’, using 3-D printing and carbon fiber to construct 7.4-inch heels encrusted with gemstones.

Coming up with outlandish creations follows the same procedure every time: “Some people get their ideas in the shower, but I need to be in my atelier with silence. The rest of the process is like going into a labyrinth and looking for the exit – the way out is the show, the end result.”

Fuelled by a stream of futuristic visions, her ambition knows no bounds – she’s even inspired by the thought of creating new materials. “I’d love to work alongside scientists – I think so much more is possible in fashion,” says the 27-year-old. SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS have always featured prominently in her armory of creative ingredients: “Crystals bring magic – we’re instinctively drawn to them.”

August 2012 sees the launch of her ready-to-wear line in Paris, “a challenging and exciting step”. Don't take your eyes off Iris Van Herpen – you wouldn’t want to miss the pyrotechnics.

Swarovski Crystals Magazine #01 - Everyday Extraordinary

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