Van Herpen, Iris

Iris Van Herpen





Iris Van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer born in 1984. She earned the high school fashion diploma at the Artez Institute of the Arts Amhem. Her personal talent led her to work as an intern for  Alexander McQueen  in London and for Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Only one year after graduation Iris started her fashion line specialized in women’s clothing.

iris-van-herpen-2021Iris Van Herpen 2021


She was a classical ballet dancer and this influenced her throughout her career. The fabric’s fluidity and the intertwining of movements represent the basis of Van Herpen’s sensory design. Movement is seen as a metamorphic force that allows ethereal garments to extend from the human body, sculpting their shapes into multidimensional silhouettes. The designer stated:

“These years of ballet have taught me a lot about my body, about the transformation of movement, about the evolution of shape and about how to manipulate both shape and movement. My interest in fashion was rooted in ballet, and I am now able to transform this kinesthetic knowledge into new shapes and materials”

Iris Van Herpen x Dutch National BalletIris Van Herpen x Dutch National Ballet

Iris Van Herpen’s style is modern and avant-garde. Her unconventional dresses are sculptural and embrace influences from various forms of art. The use of materials goes far beyond normal textile experiments. In fact, resins, plastic materials and fabrics created through the use of the 3D printer are also used. The result is very impactful. It combines multidisciplinary techniques with intricate craftsmanship. It blends pioneering techniques and luxurious materials to challenge the traditional notions of “handmade” to create ethereal, hyper feminine garments that look to the future.

Many items recall the world of nature with strong symmetries and many particular details. Others are based on atmospheric or physical phenomena, as in the case of the Couture Seijaku collection inspired by the movements of sound waves. It is inspired by elements of water, air and land and translates into liquescent, diaphanous or material shapes.

Iris van Herpen Couture-SS20 Sensory SeasIris van Herpen Couture-SS20 Sensory Seas


Iris created her brand in 2007 and founded the atelier based in Amsterdam, presenting her collections every two years at the exclusive Paris Haute Couture Week as a member of  Fédération de la Haute Couture.

Van Herpen immediately stood out for her desire to experiment. This meant that the designer has often collaborated with various artists taking her creations beyond the boundaries of fashion. Her clothes, in fact, are true works of art with influences borrowed from design, architecture and sculpture. Iris was a pioneer in using new technologies in her field.

An example is the use of the 3D printer applied to textiles to create sculptural clothing or particular details to apply to the fabrics. To do so the designer entrusts the work to highly specialized teams who help her to apply the use of the printer to tailoring.

Couture SeijakuCouture Seijaku

The designer also collaborated with a group of scientists of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The team was able to develop a particular type of multi-material Polyjet 3D printing to apply synthetic resin structures on a piece of transparent tulle. The result was surprising and futuristic.

In 2011 Time Magazine included Iris van Herpen’s clothes made with the printer among the 50 best Inventions of the year.


The eclectic approach of the designer led her to collaborate with very well-known characters over the years. Among the artists there are Jolan van der Wiel, Neri Oxman, Björk and the architects Philip Beesleye Benthem and Crouwe.

Over the years Iris has won several awards including the Golden Eye Award, the Dutch Design Award and the Marie Claire Award as best Dutch designer. There are also many celebrities who have chosen to wear the designer’s clothes. Lady Gaga was one of the first ones to choose Van Herpen’s clothes followed by Beyoncè, Solange, Kate Moss, Cara Delevigne, Fan Bingbing and Naomi Campbell.

bjork-iris-van-herpenBjork in Iris Van Herpen

Iris’s clothes have been acquired and exhibited by various museums. In 2015, a long tour of the United States began, which started at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Six of her garments were bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York . Van Herpen’s creations have also been exposed at the London Victoria & Albert Museum, at the New York Cooper Hewitt museum, at the Paris Palais de Tokyo and many others.

In 2017 the Dallas Museum of art inaugurated an exhibition for the Dutch couturier called Transforming Fashion. The exhibition, scheduled from the 21st of May to the 20th of August, featured 43 haute couture creations by the designer. The following year, Iris van Herpen signed a co-lab with the Naturalis biodiversity center, the natural history museum as well as the biodiversity research centre in Leiden, in the Netherlands. The designer created more than a kilometer of three-dimensional drawings in hand-sanded concrete to give shape to the new structure of the institute.

iris-van-herpen-sensorySensory Seas


From 2018 to 2021 many celebrities wore the clothes of the Dutch designer. Iris Van Herpen was chosen by Celine Dion and by Lady Gaga for the promotion of her album Chromatica, and she also became popular at the Met Gala ceremonies. More and more people from the world of entertainment and fashion wore the designer’s clothes during the Met. About ten celebrities wore Iris Van Herpen in the last edition of 2021, as well as Solange in 2018.