For a quick surge of existentialism, visit the Iris van Herpen exhibition, where the tiny threads that bind us to the cosmos are not merely observed but questioned, probing the body’s place in space, its dance with clothing, and its future in a world that’s in flux. The retrospective exhibition, Sculpting the Senses, hosted at the Musée des Arts décoratifs until the 28th of April, 2024, redraws the conventional confines of fashion and hones the very crux of sartorial expression, braiding traditional couture craftmanship with insights from the artistic, scientific and natural perspectives.
The retrospective exhibition seems to be structured around nine interconnected themes, each highlighting different facets of the Dutch designer’s artistic evolution and multidisciplinary approach. Iris van Herpen’s village roots in Wamel, Netherlands, and her early connection to the living world takes shape in the exhibition’s thematic exploration of water, marking the opening of the showcase. This theme is followed by a presentation of Carte Blanche, her most recent collection on display, which shares a dialogue with David Sprigg’s Origins. Together, they shape an immersive experience that draws visitors into the depths of the designer’s aquatic universe. Visitors can journey through the intricacies of skeletal designs and witness the marriage of organic and architectural networks, as the exhibition winds its way through sensations, mythological fables, and cosmic enigmas – all while taken in by a composition by Salvador Breed.
Iris van Herpen’s already multidisciplinary work is dialogued with a manifold of creatives, from Ferruccio Laviani’s Gothic cabinet to Tim walker’s photographs. As the exit draws near, observers can wander beneath the artists suspended work, Her dresses dance across the sky, with bodies floating through space and time, encouraging the departees to reintegrate into their own earthly reality, now having experienced the singular and hybrid universe of Iris van Herpen.