A/W 2020 – Paris, Haute Couture


Iris van Herpen reflects on growth and regeneration

Still from the ‘Transmotion’ short film based on Iris van Herpen’s Haute Couture AW 2020 design, directed by Ryan McDaniels and featuring Carice van Houten.

Scheduled on day one of Paris Haute Couture Week AW 2020, Iris van Herpen was one of the first designers to put the digital format to the test to present her latest collection on the FHCM virtual platform. The Dutch designer and A Magazine N°13 curator has put her efforts into creating a single dress encapsulating her experience of working remotely, with reduced teams and limited access to materials. She reflected on the idea of ‘transmotion’, a term referring both to the natural process of transformation and the visual representation of motion in art and literature.

With this project, Iris van Herpen saw an opportunity to “stay close to home”, she told fashion critic Jessica Michault in a on-screen interview before her film’s reveal. The designer paid tribute to her Dutch heritage by taking inspiration from 20th century Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, world-renowned for his Impossible Constructions and Transformation Prints, and calling on close collaborator Ryan McDaniels to direct this film. Shot in the Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam, the film is brought to life another Dutch creative, Game of Thrones actress and singer Carice van Houten, who gracefully embodies the unconscious state of meditation powered by the dress through a play on movement and light.



Over the years, van Herpen has secured her position as an avant-garde figure of fashion, both for her technology-infused approach to design and her drive to represent the invisible processes of life. “There wasn’t going to be a traditional fashion show, so I felt I could go a little bit deeper into the conceptual side of my work”, she told Michault. Van Herpen’s tireless exploration of craftsmanship and innovation is shown is all the details: laser-cut black branches of duchess satin referencing the work of Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa are hand-stitched to the core of the dress – metaphorically the ovule of the flower-like piece – and contrast with the sheer layers of white silk organza growing out of the chest like delicate petals. Crystalline filaments with black crystals ornaments sprout out of the dress to evoke a flower’s stamen, a reference to nature as a life-provider.

By transforming into a blooming flower, the ‘Transmotion’ dress skillfully encapsulates Iris van Herpen’s organic approach of innovation, all the while entertaining a profound connection to nature.

Words: Maxime Der Nahabédian

Iris van Herpen, ‘Transmotion’ dress worn by Carice van Houten, photography by Valentine Bouquet

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