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Always at the forefront of experimentation in fashion, this season’s ready-to-wear Van Herpen show at Paris Fashion Week surpassed all expectations. The Iris Van Herpen team staged a spectacle that caused nothing less than a revolution in the runway. It broke all the rules of the game, making attendance at the show a truly riveting experience. It was all about breaking down borders and swapping places. The models didn’t file past the show-goer; attendees did the moving. The difference between fashion photographers and the public disappeared as everyone became a circling photographer.
While spectators milled around the dissolved catwalk, models moved choreographically and suggestively in front of 17 large optical light screens which worked like magic mirrors. If you stood in front of the panels within inches of the model, you couldn’t tell which of the doubled reflections was real, creating a genuinely dreamlike sensation. It was a truly entrancing, enlivening experience.
The show lasted almost an hour instead of the usual 10 minutes and the spectator was allowed to interact with the models to the extent that it felt like a free-flowing theatrical dream sequence, an encounter of the third kind with a troupe of balletic lucid dreamers.
The 3D-printed dresses accentuated this oneiric atmosphere no end, with their bubbling, exoskeletal surfaces. The ribbing and phantom bubbling fabrics over the super light tulle dresses also dissolved the usual boundaries of the body seeming to modify the bone structure into strange, but harmoniously alluring new shapes.
One outfit looked like a cross between a dress and a bubble bath, another looked as if it had been stitched from interlocking hat brims. Every single one of the silhouettes was rapturously enchanting.