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Iris van Herpen: My clothes are reality

Iris van Herpen: My clothes are reality

Visionary designer Iris van Herpen doesn't see her creations as futuristic, but as the present.

The Dutch designer has been at the forefront of fashion technology for a number of years and her work is celebrated in a new exhibition that has opened at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

Iris has been lauded over the years for her forward-thinking approach to creating clothes, but the 31-year-old doesn't see her own designs as being ahead of their time.

"People say my clothes look futuristic, but, no, they are of the present, it's actually reality," she told WWD.

Despite this, the new exhibition is called Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, and marks the designer's first solo show in the US, as well as the museum's first foray into fashion.

Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design at the High, explained why the venue had chosen Iris as their first designer to celebrate. "We'd been interested in fashion but wanted something more than thematic that shows the narrative of the work and the designer's evolution and process," she said.

Sarah worked closely with the exhibit's co-curators - Mark Wilson, chief curator for the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, and Sue-an van der Zijpp, the Groninger's curator of contemporary art - to bring the new display together as they had ran a solo exhibition about Iris in 2012.

"The luxury of having their original exhibit's 27 pieces allowed us to focus on new aspects like the book and video," Sarah added.

The High's instalment adds 18 haute couture pieces dating from where the Groninger left off and premieres the aluminium "particle" dress from the 2015 short film Spatial Reverse. All the pieces will be displayed chronologically from 2008 to 2015 with the High acquiring two dresses for the show, including the 'ice' dress, which is a strapless bubble mini-dress that snaps together like a child's toy and featured in the Magnetic Motion collection for spring 2015.

"To get the look of water splashing over the body before, I had to heat transparent PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and mould it by hand with pliers,” Iris explained. “The ice dress is the first time the technology was there, so you can see that the difference between 2010 and 2014 is a big deal.”

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