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Pure Magnetism

What at first may seem an unlikely pairing quickly falls into place. Jólan van der Wiel and Iris van Herpen have collaborated on A/W 2013 Haute Couture collection named Beyond Wilderness. 

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 01-08-2013

Shown recently during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, the collection Beyond Wilderness is an ode to nature and it’s powerful forces. For this collection,Van Herpen worked together with designer Jólan van der Wiel who applied his study of magnetism to the garments. spoke with the young designer. 

His characteristic Gravity Stools seem to organically grow thanks to magnetic properties, and it is this growing process that Van der Wiel sought to recreate on the body: “I recognized some of the abstract forms created by magnetism in Iris van Herpen’s designs. That’s how I came up with the idea for a collaboration.” The theme for the 2014 Haute Couture collection fitted well within this thought process and “the idea to grow a dress through magnetism was born.”


A new challenge presented itself for Van der Wiel as working with fashion was a first. “It was interesting and inspiring to work with Iris and the people in her studio. It’s great to see how she works from a ‘total concept’ in which her dresses are elements to a greater plan. That’s how she tells her story.” The designer says the collaboration was intense with much consideration for techniques and eventual shape. “Iris made the design and I added the magnetism layer in my studio. It was a lot of work with and took the two of us three weeks to create two dresses.”


As the dresses needed to move and conform to the body, a new application of the magnetic material needed to be found. One that was both compatible with textile and allowed for flexibility. “The materials has become soft and ‘furry’. I also developed a new technique that creates more subtle structures.” 


In addition to the magnetic dresses inspiration was found in nature. We see kimono-dresses with pearlescent detailing – a reference to seashells – all manner of anemone-like prints, rubberized materials like skin and even a dress with artificial cockerel heads and feathers. The amazing shoes were once again made in collaboration with United Nude. 


Known for his product designs but with a strong entrepreneurial drive, we asked Van der Wiel how he found the crossover to fashion? 

“I like working within different disciplines. A dress calls for completely different skills than for instance, a piece of furniture. A dress has so many details and demands more dedication and more patience. I like that.”


But fashion itself was not entirely his cup of tea: “Not the industry but what you can create for it is what I found interesting. The great thing about fashion is that it is always combined with the human body. That gives you the possibility to create a more interactive object.”

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