Fashion Goes Beyond Clothing

Phoenix Art Museum presents 3-D-printed couture from acclaimed Dutch designer Iris van Herpen

Beginning on Feb. 24, Phoenix Art Museum will host the exhibition “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion,” celebrating the career of the Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Renowned for her use of 3-D printing, van Herpen is widely considered one of contemporary fashion’s most progressive creators. She is a favored designer of style icons including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Björk and Cara Delevingne.

Iris van Herpen, Hacking Infinity, 2015. Laser-cut cow leather,
3-D printed photopolymer and stereolithography resin shoes.
In collaboration with Noritaka Tatehana and 3D Systems.

The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Groninger Museum in Groninger, the Netherlands, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga. It features 45 ensembles from 15 collections spanning 2008 to 2015, a selection of van Herpen’s fantastical shoe designs and footage from runway shows.

“We’re delighted to bring the singular vision of Iris van Herpen to Phoenix Art Museum,” says Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “Her multidisciplinary approach to creation, melding art, science and architecture with traditional methods of garment construction, represents a radical, contemporary vision that we’re proud to host in our museum. We’re so excited to be able to share the best of international art and fashion with our community, right in the heart of our city.”

Since her first runway show in 2007, the 33-year-old Dutch designer has made a name for herself within and beyond the fashion world by combining tradition with radical innovation. Van Herpen is unparalleled in her multidisciplinary approach to creation.

Her most prominent collaborators include artists, architects and scientists such as Philip Beesley, Jólan van der Wiel and Bart Hess, as well as teams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2011, Time Magazine included her 3-D printed dresses on its list of 50 Best Inventions. Van Herpen is hailed as a pioneer for her use of 3-D printing as a construction technique and guiding aesthetic principle, utilizing the technology to create sculptural garments with unfamiliar forms.

Iris van Herpen, Hybrid Holism, July 2012.
Metallic coated stripes, tulle and cotton dress.

Her distinct viewpoint has inspired collaborations with progressive musicians and actresses such as Björk, Tilda Swinton, Gwendoline Christie and Grimes. Her special projects include dressing Scarlett Johansson for the film Lucy, creating the dress Beyoncé wore in her “Mine” music video and producing Lady Gaga’s ensemble for the launch of her Fame fragrance.

A former ballet dancer, van Herpen also has created costumes for the Paris Opera and the New York City Ballet, collaborating with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and the Berlin-based dance company, Sasha Waltz & Guests.

“Iris van Herpen’s unique fusion of technology with couture craftsmanship has made her a pioneer of Paris haute couture and an undeniable agent of change in the fashion world,” says Dennita Sewell, the Jacquie Dorrance Curator of Fashion Design. “Her ‘New Couture’ blends the past and future into a distinct vision of the present and completely reimagines the possibilities of what fashion can and will become.”

Phoenix Art Museum is the western-most and final U.S. destination to host this acclaimed exhibition, which will be on view in Steele Gallery from Feb. 24 through May 13.


“Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion”

Feb. 24 – May 13

Phoenix Art Museum, Steele Gallery, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information, visit

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