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Exhibitions > Capriole

Capriole / July 2011

Iris van Herpen made her début in Paris as a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
with this collection. Besides being a compilation of highlights from previous collections, this new
collection also presented five striking outfits that evoke the feeling just before and during a free-fall
parachute jump. "Just before I jump out of the plane, all my energy is in my head and I feel as though my mind is snaking through thousands of bends. 

The moment of free fall is the complete opposite: all the energy is concentrated in my body, I can feel every fibre, and my mind is not working any more". It's the best reset of body and mind, the designer believes: "Once I'm safely on the ground, I feel born again."

The five outfits are a reflection of these two existential extremes. For instance, the snake dress is a design consisting of serpentine forms made of acrylic sheets that writhe around the wearer. At first sight the dress looks like a modern variant of the Laocoön, the ancient Greek sculpture that depicts a Trojan priest and his two sons in the grip of two sea serpents, but it is probably closer to an evocation of the mental state at the moment before the jump.

Using the same acrylic material, Van Herpen has created pieces with jagged spikes that are
reminiscent of ice floes. These were inspired by the algorithmic sculptural work of architect Michael
Hansmeyer. A number of the outfits were not, as one might think, the product of industrious handwork, but came straight from the computer and the 3D printer, like the last outfit, which evokes the moment of free fall when every fibre of the body feels as though it is growing in all directions, and brings to mind an exoskeleton.

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