Spring is a time of rebirth. After a long period of global unrest and uncertainty, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen is ushering in a new season with her Spring/Summer 2021 “Roots of Rebirth” collection. Filled with elements of nature, movement, and a hint of scientific whimsy, these gowns are a beautiful portrayal of van Herpen’s personal inspirations. We asked the designer to share more about Roots of Rebirth and what sparks her creativity when dreaming up a new line of couture masterpieces.
GO: What is your favorite dress in the Roots of Rebirth collection and why?
A: That is a difficult question as I'm so close to each of them; but one of my favorites is the Gaia gown in which hand-embroidered roots entwine the body symmetrically in color gradients from white to beige tones, to then be hand-stitched into elongated panels of half-wheel plisse, to be finished with a white kinetic crown in collaboration with artist Casey Curran. The line work of the bodice creates a beautiful optical illusion, warping the waist, and the various textures are so subtle yet organic. They remind me of a 21st century version of the Art Nouveau movement.
GO: What did you like about designing this collection?
A: This year has been very disruptive for everyone, and the research and creative process of the 'Roots of Rebirth' collection has really helped me to discover our deeply rooted interconnectedness – even in times of isolation. It’s beautiful to feel the power of creativity that is even more striking within this strange time.
GO: Where did you draw inspiration from for this Spring/Summer 2021 season?
A: I found inspiration with the biologist Merlin Sheldrake and his writings on Entangled life, how fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Sheldrake made me understand the 'miraculous wood wide web' and the infinite interactions that are being weaved underground. He made me see 'the fabric of life,' the so-called living seam by which much of the world is stitched into relation. It’s the interconnectedness of nature and our place within that intricate network that I wanted to express in this collection. The microscopic transformations are infinite and that delicate dance of dependency I cherished to translate into the textures, the linework and the layering of the looks of the 'Roots of Rebirth' collection.
GO: What trends are you looking forward to seeing on brides?
A: Well, interestingly, I don't think a bride should be focused on being part of a trend, as a wedding gown should be the embodiment of her own dreams to express her most special moment and her own identity and style in her life. It’s a magical moment that can be very personal and can be a poetic translation of someone’s personality.
GO: Do you offer custom designs?
A: Indeed, we are an Haute Couture atelier, so all the looks that we make are custom and made-to-measure for our clients.
GO: Who and what inspires you as a designer?
A: My background in dance is an ongoing inspiration, as well as architecture, science, nature and art.
GO: Who is your fashion icon?
A: Some of my all-time fashion icons are Cate Blanchett, Naomi Campbell, Bjork, Janelle Monae, and Cara Delevingne