Iris van Herpen Coture Architectonics

by Alain Chivilò

©Alain Chivilò


The floral motif and the rose were the themes in which the Creative Directors conceived their collections for the Fall and Winter seasons 2023-24. At the end of the Haute Coture week in Paris, I think nice to say goodbye with the name of a flower belonging to a designer and her creations now presented: Iris van Herpen.

Architectonics is the name of the collection thinking to a new frontier: “a world with waterborne urbanism that harmonizes with marine ecosystems”.

The concepts of each dress, Autumn Winter 2023-24, start from a theoretical concept, an existing project and a specific manufacturing technique.

The first consists in the concepts by the French Architect and Oceanographer Jacques Rougerie, known as the ‘Architect of the Sea’. Rougerie’s study bridges the gap between scientific exploration and architectural innovation, offering a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between the oceans and our built environment. His designs of underwater habitats and floating laboratories, informed by his expertise as a marine biologist and architect, have inspired van Herpen’s exploration of aquatic urbanism.

The project is linked to the revolutionary World’s First Floating City, ‘Oceanix’ that is currently being built in South Korea. As the first large manifestation of this new form of waterborne urbanism, designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels, Oceanix integrates zero waste and circular systems, closed-loop water systems, net-zero energy, and coastal habitat regeneration.

Technically as indicated by van Herpen: “Each look was therefor digitally modeled before the physical draping process started. The cutting-edge ’Biophilic’ technique is developed from lasercutting architectural lineworks that are bonded together to serve as molds, in which a marble-textured silicone is injected with syringes into the fine lasercut outlines. At the same time abalone-shell flakes are inlaid by hand into gradients before the silicone is settling. After settling, a final transparent layer of silicone is injected to enhance the iridescent shell shards gracefully. The daring ‘Oceanix’ technique is developed to paint bursting patterns in space. These graphic polygon patterns explode skillfully from order to chaos through the movement of the body, as the polygons are deconstructed in air by the models moving. Fine fiberglass rods are carefully balanced to distribute an exact amount of weight and vibration into the dissected geodesic bursts, creating an interplay of fluidity and fragmentation. The harmonious color palette of this season combines graphic contrasts of white and blacks that are highlighted with metallic silver, bronze and gold detailing. An oceanic mood is created through soft tones of mint-green that are mixed with abalone-blue, turquoise and pearlescent shell shades”.

Cuts and geometric games for lines that move with the body. Articulated and elaborated volumes always in motion for constant perspectives. Full and empty, light and shadow for dynamic perceptions.

Creative Director for her Maison, Iris van Herpen creates a technological fashion concept in the tailoring and craftsmanship of Haute Couture. Clothes to stand out and be there.


Iris van Herpen Architectonics, FW 2023-24, Haute Couture, Paris


by Alain Chivilò

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