The foundational ideas of Iris Van Herpen’s collections are always hyper-conceptual. For AW ‘15, the collection was christened, “Hacking Infinity,” and centered on “terraforming,” or the creation of an Earth-like environment on another planet. This translated more tangibly into hand-plisséed fanned fabrics, spectral Milky Way colors and a spherical motif throughout. Mixing the organic with technology is a Van Herpen signature and had expected prominence this season.
Often infusing great couture handcraft in her ready-to-wear, Van Herpen had a surprising number of less elaborate, more wearable pieces. Some of her ensembles had an almost weightless ballerina quality, while others had the boudoir feel of wispy nightgowns. A crimson-red jumpsuit was an almost sinister sight amidst all the light coppery shimmer and moiré. The texture of one of her most knockout dresses, “like a mineral geology,” was mesmerizing to the point of seeming truly otherworldly.
The styling was minimal with slicked hair, revealing a V-twist from behind. The chilling dissonant soundtrack was a cavernous mechanized hum by Dutch sound designer Salvador Breed, reverberating painfully enough to make some show attendees actually plug their ears.
Her habitual associate Philip Beesley—cited as a collaborating artist—lent a hand in the collection, as did Japanese shoe designer Noriko Tatehana. The 3D-printed no-heel footwear forced the models to move at a measured zombie-style pace. The soles were spiked with quartz-like formations like geodes underfoot, creating—even on what was basically tiptoe—a hauntingly menacing step.