“Between the Lines”, Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s new Couture collection presented in Paris, explores the imperfection of systems and structure in both the physical and digital worlds.
Van Herpen focuses on the gaps in between the structures of her materials, rather then the structures themselves, by shaping patterns that dissimulate the body’s perspective or subtract it. By building up the patterns and then distorting them, the eye’s perspective is tricked and challenged to see new patterns occurring in between. Linear shifts and sharp contrasts form the base of this innovative approach to material development and pattern making and challenge us to “mind the system, but to find the gaps.”
To compliment her vision for this show, Van Herpen collaborated with the Berlin artist Ester Stocker, who is known for her manipulation of dimensional geometries. She subverts spatial grids until the mind starts making linear connections that aren’t really there.
For this show Stocker creates a tunnel of visual distortion, in which the models evolve within a conflict of light and shadow. By building up the lines and then distorting them, the eye shifts to see new lines emerge in between. For Stocker, the experience is implied as much by its gaps as it is by its contours.
The distortion created by glitches, short-lived faults in a digital system, also formed the design process of this collection, creating a new unexpected beauty of imperfection. The optical manipulation within the garments is based on hypnotic repetitive patterns in a minimal palette of black and white only, in order to delineate the silhouettes and textures.
New techniques in this collection include soft 3D hand-casted PU fabrics that are hand-painted through injection molding and fine expandable laser-cut Mylar fabrics reminiscent of digital glitches in collaboration with architect Philip Beesley.
The copper–plated diagonal heels shift the balance of the shoe, leaving a rectangular gap between the lines.
Photo: Peter Stigter