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Iris van Herpen's tribute to mummification

Iris van Herpen toyed with the idea of realities and self-evidence in her new collection Mummification.  

By Editor Design.nl / 05-02-2009

"Egyptians considered the 'reality' that they created for their deaths as the reality, while their daily life was an illusion". Iris van Herpen

Appearing more like exquisite art masterpieces or elaborate costumes that transcend fashion the new pieces from Iris van Herpen were a stark contrast from anything seen during this year's Amsterdam International Fashion Week. This time, the young avant garde designer let herself be inspired by mummification, one of the important traditions of ancient Egypt.

"The Egyptians tried to 'create' reality by means of their art. They considered the 'reality' that they created for their deaths as the reality, while their daily life was an illusion. In other words, don't believe everything that looks obvious, but create your own reality...This intriguing way of thinking, I have included in the collection", says Van Herpen.

The elaborateness of the creations more than compensated for the size of the collection which numbered 10 hand-made pieces in total. Mummified silhouettes are juxtaposed with unexpected materials reminiscent of industry (or bondage): eyelets, ball chains, buckles, engine chains, metal wire mesh, studs combined with delicate touches like lace or gold foil. Leather, particularly as straps, features heavily throughout. The macabre nature of the theme was balanced by the eccentric detailing finished with utmost craftsmanship while the dark palette was lifted with bronze, cream and dusty pink.

Van Herpen worked as an intern with Alexander McQueen and Claudy Jongstra and graduated in 2006 from the ARTEZ School of Arts in Arnhem.

Photography: Michel Zoeter


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