The new Craftsmanship

Iris van Herpen, Escapism
Iris van Herpen, Escapism

Foto: Michel Zoeter

From 29 June until 9 October 2011 the Centraal Museum is presenting an exhibition about one of today’s most talented Dutch fashion designers: Iris van Herpen (1984, Wamel). The New Craftsmanship brings together Iris van Herpen’s experimental work and her sources of inspiration. It includes work by artists such as Kris Kuksi, Nanine Linning, Stephen Jones, Bart Hess and Irene Bussemaker. These works will be presented together with a selection from the museum’s collection of Applied Arts. Iris van Herpen will create a new design specially for the exhibition.

Inspirations and collaborations
The New Craftsmanship juxtaposes designs by Iris van Herpen with art from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It also includes work by contemporary artists from the Netherlands and abroad who have inspired Van Herpen or collaborated with her. It is a highly personal exhibition, as Van Herpen explains: ‘It is a dream come true for me to work with artists who inspire me, to work together with others to reinstate fashion as a valuable product by searching for new forms, materials and techniques.’ In 2010 the Centraal Museum was the first museum in the Netherlands to acquire several of Van Herpen’s piece for its collection.

Innovative technologies
Iris van Herpen’s designs stem from the interaction between craftsmanship and innovation with techniques and materials. She combines tradition with experiment and is always in search of new techniques and materials. She uses metal, plastics and other materials not often used in fashion. Despite their often futuristic and industrial appearance, her collections are made mostly by hand. In addition to classical techniques, Van Herpen also employs innovative technologies such as 3D printing. Visitors will be able to see exactly how this process works. A 3D printer will be in the Centraal Museum to print out a creation.

Designs by Iris van Herpen
The exhibition will feature approximately 25 designs by Van Herpen, including her haute couture creations and spectacular costumes for dance performances. The theatrical nature of these designs will be amplified by lighting effects and larger-than-life-size projections of the performance with sound. The exhibition will also contain the Centraal Museum’s recent acquisitions and the new design that Van Herpen has made specially for the occasion.
Historical inspiration
Van Herpen’s innovative working methods and craftsmanship fit within a long tradition of applied arts. The museum’s collection of historical applied arts includes piece of extraordinary quality. In the exhibition will juxtapose an avant-garde, 3D printed dress by Van Herpen with seventeenth-century works by the goldsmiths Adam and Paulus van Vianen. Another dress by Van Herpen, built up from strips of leather, will be shown alongside gold leather wallpaper from the eighteenth century. Other masterpieces from the collection, such as bookcase by C.A. Lion Cachet and silk decorative panels form backdrops for Van Herpen’s works.

Contemporary inspiration
Van Herpen works with artists from various backgrounds and is inspired by a wide range of contemporary artists such as Nanine Linning, Daniel Widrig, Bart Hess, Kris Kuksi and Stephen Jones. Iris van Herpen’s designs form the connection between these diverse multi-disciplinary works.  

Fashion in the Centraal Museum
Fashion is an important part of the  Centraal Museum’s remit. The museum attempts to follow authentic fashion talents from the earliest stage of their careers. Iris van Herpen’s work fits perfectly within the Centraal Museum’s collections policy, which emphasises craftsmanship, concept and interdisciplinary works. Her unique creations are of an exceptionally high quality and are an important addition to the museum’s fashion collection.

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