Crystallization / July 2010
At the instigation of ARCAM (Architecture Centre Amsterdam), a collaboration was organized between Iris van Herpen and Benthem Crouwel Architects.
Benthem Crouwel's design for a new extension to Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum had earned it thenickname "bathtub". This inspired Van Herpen to design a dress that would fall around the wearer like a splash of water, like being immersed in a warm bath. The properties and associations that relate to water in its various states, such as its apparent chaos and unbounded nature when in liquid form, and at the same time the mathematical beauty of the hard crystalline structures that appear when water freezes, are clearly recognizable in this collection.
In addition they form a metaphor for the artistic process at work here, by which the initial idea crystallized to form a tangible collection. Some of the pieces look like ripples, flows, splashes or jets. Others imitate a waterfall or seem to be inspired by the severe geometry of ice crystals.
Once again Van Herpen has made use of unconventional materials and techniques that are foreign to the fashion world. The pieces that appear as lifelike imitations of spurting water would seem to be the result of some ingenious industrial procedure but are, in fact, created using a hot air gun, a pair of pliers and, above all, endless patience. Another striking design, which recalls the way that limestone deposits form shells, is a 3D print that Van Herpen made in collaboration with architectDaniel Widrig.
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