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Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion exhibit at GRAM

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One day before the close of the exhibition, I drove two and a half hours west of Detroit to the city of Grand Rapids.

A small but thoughtfully curated museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum was one of the few and fortunate hosts of Iris’ works in North America.

The five hour round-trip journey was beyond worth it.



The Dutch designer has been a force in the industry since creating her first collection in 2007.  With a fascination for exploring the limits of existing materials, and the innovation to invent entirely new ones, her designs combine forgotten old-world techniques with the most cutting-edge science in materials exploration.  Iris van Herpen frequently collaborates with scientists and architects, pushing the boundaries of technique and materials. 

The themes that drive her collections represent the relevant balance between nature and science, as well as observe the social and cultural implications of technology and innovation.  Radiation, metamorphosis, biology and physics are explored in relation to the human experience.



3D Printed Photopolymer, stereolithography resin

While 3D printing has opened up a new world of possibilities in fashion, Iris stands by this:  Anything she could make by hand, she could 3D print, and anything she could 3D print she could make by hand.

But 3D printing is only one piece of the puzzle. Other notable materials and techniques include resin and polymer, steel mesh, the ribs of children’s umbrellas; techniques like applying magnetic forces and extreme heat or cold to alter surface finishes.

Please enjoy these images I captured during my visit to the exhibition, which is now closed.



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