D E S I G N details: Iris van Herpen

by Sherrie Zwail Enderman, SZIdesign

Over the years, there have been only a few world-renowned Dutch fashion designers. Not many reach Paris, Japan and New York.

But in recent years a true star has emerged on the scene, and it is none other than Iris van Herpen

Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer who started her own label in 2007 and has shown her collections at the Paris Fashion Week since January 2011. Van Herpen creates magnificent technical couture. While all designers can be considered unique, Iris has no equal in the design world.

Iris van Herpen studied Fashion Design at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem, and was an intern for Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam.  She graduated in 2006, and in 2007 she founded her own women's wear label.

Photo by Christopher MacSurak via Wikimedia Commons.

A pioneer in utilizing 3D printing for constructing her garments, Iris van Herpen is an innovator who uses technology as one of the guiding principles in her work.

Photo by Christopher MacSurak via Wikimedia Commons.

Van Herpen’s forward thinking continuously pushes the boundaries of fashion design. Since her career began, she has focused on inventing new forms and methods by combining the past and the future, combining traditional and radical materials, and combining construction methods of technology and fine couture craftsmanship. Van Herpen’s work is sculptural and unfamiliar in form and nature.

Because of her multidisciplinary approach, Van Herpen often collaborates with such artists as Benthem and Crouwel Architects, choreographer and dancer Sasha Waltz, and designer Jolan van der Wiel, to name a few.

Photo credit: Julia_585 / Shutterstock.com

Iris van Herpen also works with progressive musicians and actresses, such as Björk, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Miley Cyrus, Fan Bingbing, Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell. The list goes on and on. 

Her special projects included dressing the actress Scarlett Johansson in the film “Lucy” and dressing Beyoncé for her “Mine” video.

Photo credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

At the recent 2020 Golden Globe Awards, Joey King walked down the red carpet wearing a dress designed by Iris Van Herpen.

At the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie’s stunning gown was created by designer Iris van Herpen. While standing in front of the flames of the Game of Thrones backdrop, the actress showcased the dress’ flame-like qualities.

Photo credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Iris van Herpen’s runway shows in Paris are spectacular; her garments are sculptural and admired by all. Check out her last show from January 2020, called Sensory Seas. 

Whether or not you find the work of Iris Van Herpen beautiful, one cannot challenge the creative brilliance of her talent for incorporating advanced technology into the fine art of fashion. Iris is here to stay and I am proud that Amsterdam is her home. Iris van Herpen certainly adds value and credibility to the Netherlands.


D E S I G N details: Levenslicht

by Sherrie Zwail Enderman, SZIdesign

Photo credit: Daan Roosegaarde, www.studioroosegaarde.net

As some of you may know, design is my passion and I couldn’t be happier about living in the Netherlands, where the local design is constantly inspiring me. I am excited to introduce you to creative and inspiring design, designers, projects, trends and exhibits right here in our backyard. 

I first wrote about Daan Roosegaarde from Studio Roosegaarde a few years ago. He and his team create many amazing projects. Daan is a designer who is regarded highly for his creative use of light, ultraviolet lamps and glow-in-the-dark paint. One project of his that I highlighted in the past was the Van Gogh Path, a bike path made up of thousands of illuminating stones and inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  This project won several international awards, as it was technically advanced and creatively stimulating.

Another project that Daan Roosegaarde worked on was in honor of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of German Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz. Here Daan was asked to design a monument to honor the 104,000 Dutch Holocaust victims. In collaboration with the National Committee, he developed LEVENSLICHT (Light of Life). 

Photo credit: Daan Roosegaarde, www.studioroosegaarde.net

Levenslicht can be viewed in 170 locations throughout the Netherlands. The project incorporates 104,000 illuminating stones in memory of each person killed. Stones have a very significant meaning in the Jewish religion, as it is typical to place a stone instead of flowers near a gravesite to honor the deceased. Stones are also significant in the Roma and Sinti communities, whose members were also persecuted. Therefore, stones were the natural catalyst for Daan’s inspiration.

The Levenslicht installations consist of a circle of granite stones, coated with fluorescent ink and lit with an ultraviolet lamp, in all the locations in the Netherlands where people were sent to concentration and extermination camps in the Second World War. The hope is that Levenslicht will provide "a place for contemplation about the Holocaust and the broader importance of freedom" for the people of the Netherlands. "Levenslicht is not a traditional static monument in which people are purely observers; it asks social participation," said Roosegaarde. "Light is life, light is hope: Levenslicht."

The main location of Levenslicht is in Rotterdam, but the installations can also be seen in another 170 municipalities in the Netherlands. You can visit these installations from January 16 to February 2, 2020.

Keep your eye out for Daan Roosegaarde. You won’t be disappointed in his commitment to use beauty to make our world a more humane place to live.