Vanessa Palsenbarg March 7, 2014

Everything about it was impressive, the setting, the music, the shrink wrapped models, and of course, the 3D printed, flexible dress! One of the biggest perks of my job as Corporate Communications Specialist here at Materialise is that twice a year, I get to head down to Paris to see the newest designs by a fashion designer that impresses me both with her creative genius and her kindness – Iris van Herpen.

On Tuesday, I was again present as Iris van Herpen unveiled her Biopiracy collection during a truly unforgettable runway show held at Les Docks - Cité de la Mode et du Design in Paris. Joining me was Iris van Herpen’s project manager here at Materialise and his very lucky 8-year-old son. It is hard to describe in words what it feels like to be present at an Iris van Herpen show, but I will try my best.

The Setting and the Energy

Watching Iris’s team set up for the show is a performance in and of itself. Pretty much all dressed in black, each member of Iris’s team was frantically busy in the hours leading up to the show, with each knowing the task they were expected to perform and when it needed to be done. Both backstage and on the runway itself, it was a scene of controlled chaos as everyone worked hard to ensure that the big moment went flawlessly. I just tried my best to stay out of the way.

Iris van Herpen, Biopiracy: set up pre-show

The Shrink-Wrapped Models

What can I say about the collaboration between Iris van Herpen and Lawrence Malstaf other than the fact that the resulting shrink-wrapped models were both spooky and breathtakingly beautiful (pun intended). Photos do this element of the show much more justice than my words ever could, especially the one posted by National Geographic Photographer, Robert Clark, on his Instagram feed (which is well worth following)…so enjoy.

  The start of the show: Iris van Herpen Biopiracy

The 3D-Printed Dress!

Although I got a sneak peak at the dress backstage before the show, there is nothing quite like seeing a flexible 3D-printed dress actually going down the runway. Iris van Herpen, in collaboration with Julia Koerner, really outdid herself with this latest design. I see 3D-printed objects on a daily basis and I have to admit, it is getting harder to impress me with what is possible thanks to the technology, but the movement and intricacy of this latest dress blew me away. Even in the photos below, it is clear how much flexibility was achieved by using TPU 92A-1 and a silicon coating together with a design which allowed the material to move freely. If only it came in my size…

Iris van Herpen- Biopiracy collection. Dress created in collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise. Photo credit Michel Zoeter
Photo credit: Iris van Herpen X Michel Zoeter

Iris van Herpen- Biopiracy collection. Dress created in collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise Iris van Herpen- Biopiracy collection. Dress created in collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise

The Show

To get a taste of what it was like to be there for the show, be sure to watch the short overview from ELLE below. It is important to note that for those at the show, the music was loud enough and powerful enough to make your entire body vibrate, adding to the surreal experience of witnessing Iris van Herpen’s Biopiracy collection.