Van Herpen goes conceptual in ready-to-wear debut

Associated Press
A model wears a creation for Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen's ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 fashion collection, presented in Paris, Tuesday, Oct.1, 2013. (AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer)
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A model wears a creation for Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen's ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 …

PARIS (AP) — If clothes could make music, what would they sound like?

This was the abstract question that Iris Van Herpen — better known for her couture creations — answered during her official Paris debut in ready-to-wear.

Van Herpen used state-of-the-art technology to stage an evocative underground performance, deep inside David Lynch's Paris nightclub, "Silencio," where models writhed against each other clad in dark shimmering dresses with touch-sensitive electronic chips inside sinewy ribs on the material.

Caressing each other in scenes that could have been lifted from a Lynch film, the models' touches sent out audio signals to the DJ booth in the club, producing a macabre electronic musical aria that resonated around the rooms.

The atmosphere nicely complemented the darkness of the looks, which featured a great techno-fabric on a cropped jacket and cross-over dress that gave off a watery, metallic sheen.

Guests including Tilda Swinton sat around metal benches around the dimly lit nightclub floor and looked on in curiosity.

"My boyfriend is a musician, and makes a piece music for each dress I design ... Now I've started to imagine music and a sound for each dress I make, so I wanted to explore this," said the 29-year-old designer, who's dressed singers such as Lady Gaga and Bjork in her couture designs.

A black skeletal sheath made of leather had the dark, organism-like feel of her exaggerated couture creations, but with a simpler silhouette that fits more to the body.

"My couture is similar to the ready-to-wear, because it comes from the same heart," Van Herpen said.

With only 16 looks on display, next time it would be nice to see the talented designer broaden her repertoire with a larger collection.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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