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Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025

Iris van Herpen Elevates Haute Couture to an Art Exhibition

The visionary designer Iris van Herpen realized a lifelong dream of infusing painting and sculpture into contemporary couture masterpieces in an extraordinary presentation titled “Hybrid Show.”

Yesterday during Paris Haute Couture Week, exploratory fashion designer Iris van Herpen magically blurred the boundaries between fashion, art, and performance, unveiling an inaugural series of aerial sculptures brought to life by Gia Bab, Lily Cole, Isshe Hungry, Coco Rocha, and Iekeline Stange

Amid a lively moment in time for the visionary, as she is currently uniting 16 years of couture finery for her “Sculpting of the Senses” retrospective at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, van Herpen realized a lifelong dream of infusing painting and sculpture into contemporary couture masterpieces in an extraordinary presentation titled “Hybrid Show.” 

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

Expanding the Shared Universe of Fashion and Art

“For a long time I’ve been working on expanding people’s perception of how fashion and art can be symbiotic,” said van Herpen. “This is the natural next step for me to really show what I mean. 

“Even though we call one practice ‘Haute Couture’ and the other ‘art,’ to me, it’s one universe,”

— Iris van Herpen 
Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

Four sweeping and suspended works of art, which make up two dynamic pairs, showcased revelatory techniques across spirited tulle canvases and in tulle Couture gowns—here invoking the designer’s vibrant background in classical dance. 

Guests were enraptured as the angelic performers seemingly emerged from the art itself, echoing each mesmeric piece with harmonious movement and expression. 

The momentous decision to embark on this new, heartfelt journey of creation and juxtaposition was sparked two years ago when van Herpen and her partner, sound designer Salvador Breed, moved their main residence from central Amsterdam to a peaceful former farm just north of the bustling city. Immersed in the beauty of a bountiful, organic garden, a tranquil lake, a melodic bird sanctuary, and a landscape of fragrant fruit trees, the designer soon developed an intuitive relationship with Mother Earth’s cycles and treasures. 

“The little transformations that happen every day fiercely inspire me,”

Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

During a meditative year, van Herpen developed her hypnotic sculptures one by one. “Unfolding Time,” a shapely work of hand-pleated silk, kindles the collectively felt phenomenon of time decelerating while in the open air. Extensive sculptures “Weightlessness of the Unknown” and “Embers of the Mind” correspond to the outdoors as well as the designer’s complex inner world where endings and beginnings repeatedly unfold. 

“The works are about catharsis,” stated van Herpen. “It’s in that stage of surrendering to the craftsmanship, in being free from time, where I can let go of a certain physical reality that is constraining me and a sense of transcendence is materialized.”

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

Spellbinding Creations Conjure Art, Science, and Environmentalism 

The designer also finds pure inspiration in the wondrous impasto paintings techniques of Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga, in the joyful freedom of Abstract Expressionist talents like Joan Mitchell, within the otherworldly illustrations of Hieronymus Bosch, and through the reverence of craftsmanship upheld by Louise Bourgeois. With van Herpen’s clever hand, remnants of painted silk make their way onto a foundation of tulle, resulting in spellbinding textures that cascade like melting lava through oil paint. 

Artwork “Ancient Ancestors” is prompted by the marvels of the sea and riveting, new discoveries carried out by French Biochemist Emmanuel Farge and a proficient team at Institut Curie—unearthing the way in which early marine organisms cultivated sensorial expertise by perceiving the undulations of the sea. In her divine artwork, van Herpen fluidly combined silk, 3D-printed design elements, and the peppering of sand. The glorious outcome reverberates the shape, sheen, and grain of coral and fossils, as well as plants of the designer’s own garden in a poetic call to action for the safeguarding of nature’s singular gems. 

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

“Western thinking has long been dominated by an anthropocentric perspective, a worldview that positions humans as separate from and superior to nature,” explained van Herpen. “This paradigm has led to significant environmental degradation and the increasing biodiversity loss.”

“At my home, I don’t consider the garden as being mine, but rather it’s a space that I share with all other life forms. The wilder, the better,” added van Herpen.

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

Couture garments stunned with innovation and artistry. The designer’s Umwelt and Aeromorphosis gowns revealed meticulous and gradient pearl details which reiterated the whirlwind gestures of each sculpture. 

A sheer Ataraxy gown was deftly modeled using a heat gun, culminating in a gravity-defying tour de force. The ethereal, white Ecosophy garment married organza and involved 3D printing, transitioning into an alluring landscape of lace. Finally, the Sensorium dress of the kimono collection paid deep respect to time-honored Japanese craftsmanship and an overarching spirituality felt by all living beings.

Iris van Herpen Paris Haute Couture Week 2025 Photo by Franck Bohbot, courtesy of Iris van Herpen.

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