Since their first conversations in 2012, Atelier van Herpen in Amsterdam and Beesley’s Living Architecture Systems Group have been creating couture worn by celebrities, circulated in multiple exhibitions, and hailed by global critics: “The most powerful fashion mix of nature and technology that I have ever seen”- Suzy Menkes, Vogue. Working within a wide community of scientists, engineers, and artists, Iris van Herpen and Philip Beesley’s collaborative explorations draw from next-generation digital fabrication and computational modeling, exquisitely tuned traditional hand craft drawn from instrument and toolmaking, and subtle phenomena guided by contemporary submolecular physics and far-from-equilibrium evolutionary biology. Numerous cycles of samples and prototypes have been exchanged between Atelier van Herpen in Amsterdam and Beesley’s Waterloo Architecture studio, exploring innovative new materials, electricity and chemistry within collections that are highly complex and incredibly diverse in shape, structure, and construction. New Bodies, New Worlds will offer a unique view of van Herpen and Beesley’s collaborative work. Curator Sarah Schleuning of the Atlanta High Museum will moderate a conversation between the two creators including personal reflections and in-depth explorations of specialized craft. Extensions into full-scale architecture alongside intricately detailed personal-scale designs will be illustrated in detail.
First taking inspiration from Beesley’s Hylozoic Series in the creation of her collection, “Hybrid Holism” (Paris Haute Couture Week, July 2012), van Herpen translated a shared sensibility for subtle materials, electricity and chemistry into a collection that was highly complex and incredibly diverse in shape, structure, and material. For her 2013 Spring Summer Collection, van Herpen presented the widely acclaimed “Voltage” collection which featured works developed in collaboration with Beesley. Finely detailed flexible meshwork structures and translucent frond components forming the outer layers of three intricate dresses were developed through close dialogue between Beesley and van Herpen’s studios. Beesley contributed to ten dresses for Van Herpen’s 2014 Magnetic Motion collection, presented at Centre Pompidou. The collaborators’ innovative designs combine precisely detailed polymer, crystal and leather components into interlinking three-dimensional fabric structures with striking qualities of flexibility, sparkle and transparency. The newly engineered fabrics bridged between couture and ready-to-wear. Their combined work debuted as part of Van Herpen’s Fall-Winter 2015-16 collection on March 10th, 2015 at the Palais de Tokyo for Paris Fashion Week, and continued their longstanding collaboration for the Lucid collection, presented in Paris on March 8th, 2016. Van Herpen explored the concept of lucid dreaming in this collection.
Their Keynote presentation at the ACADIA2016 conference will be co-hosted by the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The event will take place at the Michigan Theater, 5:10pm Thursday, October 27 2016, and is open to the public.
Parallel to this event, the solo exhibition Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, curated by Schleuning, will be exhibited at the Grand Rapids Art Museum October 23, 2016 – January 15, 2017. This will be of only seven North American venues for Transforming Fashion. For more information see: http://www.artmuseumgr.org/2016/01/29/iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion/