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Iris van Herpen: Uncontrollable materials excite me

Iris van Herpen: Uncontrollable materials excite me

Iris van Herpen fantasises about using fabrics that “you cannot control”.

The Dutch designer is at the forefront of using hyper-modern materials and her garments always have a futuristic feel to them. But despite the scientific approach to fabrics and aesthetics, the 30-year-old can is often inspired from the nature that surrounds her studio.

“It is difficult to say but I think it has an influence on my work,” she told Australian Vogue when asked about the bay that she looks out on from her window. “I have been working on dresses inspired by water. It is this on-going fantasy of being able to use materials that you cannot control – and water is one of them.”

Iris’ creations often have a sci-fi look to them as they head down the runway. But when asked if she sees herself as a scientist, designer, technician or even magician because of the unique garments she produces, Iris was very clear on which title she places on herself.

“I’m definitely not a scientist,” she laughed. “I get a lot of inspiration from different fields, but I really see myself as a designer who is introducing those diverse areas into fashion. And that is my goal. It is not about the art or science separately; it is about taking bits from different fields and bringing them into my work.”

Iris is dedicated to her craft and while she enjoys seeing the end results head down a catwalk, she gets the most pleasure from the early stages of a design and the initial concept.

“The biggest part of making a collection is the research,” she explained. “It is the thing I get most excited about – finding new techniques and materials, and people to work with. It’s really a learning process of trying and experimenting and making mistakes. I think it’s the most important part of the work and the collections.”

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