The Dallas Museum of Art Presents Major Touring Exhibition Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

Dallas, TX—May 18, 2017—The Dallas Museum of Art presents a major touring exhibition of work by visionary Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, a cutting-edge artist inspired by diverse influences in the arts, sciences and philosophy. Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion features one-of-a-kind haute couture—acclaimed for its combination of traditional handcraftsmanship and futuristic, innovative materials and techniques—and includes some of the world’s first examples of 3-D–printed fashion design.

On view at the DMA May 21 through August 20, 2017, Iris van Herpen presents seven years of the artist’s original haute couture. The exhibition, organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Groninger Museum, the Netherlands, showcases 43 exquisite outfits from 15 of her collections. All outfits are displayed on custom mannequins and are made from an astonishing array of materials and methods that fuse style, science and technology.

“The Dallas Museum of Art is pleased to showcase Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion. This exhibition appeals not only to the fashion-forward but also to those interested in the worlds of science, technology and innovation. This exhibition follows the success of the Museum's first foray into contemporary fashion design—the 2011 touring exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk—and offers visitors another opportunity to explore the oeuvre of an equally visionary and innovative virtuoso at the outset of her career,” said Agustín Arteaga, the Museum’s Eugene McDermott Director. “DMA exhibitions like this, which feature works outside of the Museum’s primary collecting areas, such as contemporary fashion design, demonstrate the Museum’s responsiveness to community interests and its versatility and excellence in exhibition design and interpretation.”

With a dynamic and path-breaking body of work, Iris van Herpen is widely heralded as a pioneering  voice in fashion. She is known for her willingness to experiment—incorporating unexpected materials ranging from umbrella tines to magnets, exploring new fabrics created through the manipulation of iron filings in resin, and pushing the boundaries of technologies such as 3-D printing through collaborations with fellow artists, architects and manufacturers. Her work has graced the runways of Amsterdam, London and Paris, captured the attention and admiration of style icons such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Björk, and appeared in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s acclaimed group exhibition Manus x Machina in 2016. This exhibition documents the evolution of Iris van Herpen’s haute couture through a selection of her collections from 2008 through 2015 and illustrates the many ways she continues to seek inspiration.  

“From her 2007 debut collection, Chemical Crows, to the present, Iris van Herpen has presented a singular and powerful point of view that informed the conceptual underpinnings, material elements, construction methods and formal characteristics of her collections and the designs therein; the result is a body of work diverse in inspiration and execution, yet aesthetically cohesive and identifiable,” said Samantha Robinson, the Museum’s Interim Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts and Design and presenting exhibition curator. “The Museum’s presentation of Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion demonstrates how van Herpen has adapted, expanded and refined this viewpoint over the course of 15 collections, in the process resurrecting meticulous, traditional sartorial techniques, catalyzing the development of radical materials and methods, and presenting the bold, original haute couture designs on view in the exhibition.” She will celebrate her 10-year anniversary next July during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

Highlights from the exhibition:

Even as a youth, Iris van Herpen (b. 1984 in Wamel, the Netherlands) had an instinctual appreciation of fashion and art. While attending the Preparatory Course Art & Design at the Artez Institute of the Arts Arnhem, she became interested in designing clothes. Van Herpen went on to study Fashion Design at Artez and held internships with Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. She graduated in 2006 with a collection entitled “Machine Jewellery” that confirmed her attention to the visualization of elusive concepts and her inventiveness in material use and treatment. Within a year after graduating, van Herpen began designing womenswear collections under her own name. Through her extensive interdisciplinary research and collaborations with other artists, van Herpen has developed a unique style aesthetic that has been applauded by TIME magazine, InStyle, Women’s Wear Daily and other notable publications. In 2011, at age 27, she became the youngest member ever to join the exclusive official calendar of the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and in 2014 she was awarded the highly prestigious ANDAM Award. Her designs are currently featured in the collections of the High Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The exhibition is complemented by a 394-page catalogue containing an overview of all of the designer’s collections, including her most recent, as well as introductory texts for each collection. The volume features an interview with van Herpen by Sarah Schleuning, the High Museum of Art’s curator of decorative arts and design, and photography of van Herpen’s runway shows and stunning close-ups by photographer Bart Oomes.

The Museum will celebrate Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion during the June Off the Wall: Make It Work program on Thursday, June 8, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and during the DMA’s July Late Night from 6:00 p.m. until midnight on Friday, July 21. Additional programs, including gallery talks, lectures, films and programming for families, teens and teachers will be scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition. For dates, prices and details, visit DMA.org.

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands. The exhibition was curated by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum, and presented locally by Samantha Robinson. Support for this exhibition has generously been provided by Creative Industries Fund NL. The local presentation is made possible by the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association and the “Transformers”—a dedicated group of generous supporters of the exhibition. Special thanks to Catherine and Will Rose, Deedie Rose, Nancy Carlson, Claire Dewar, Laura and Walter Elcock, Marguerite Hoffman and Tom Lentz, Allen and Kelli Questrom, Peggy Sewell, Sharon and Michael Young, Zoe and David Bonnette, Mary Cook, Melissa Fetter, Sallie and Cavan Groves, Muffin Lemak, Margot Perot, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Selwyn Rayzor and Rich Moses, Gowri and Alex Sharma, Gloria McCall Snead, and Christen Wilson. Additional support provided by Stella Artois, the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Dallas, Forty Five Ten, and PaperCity Magazine. Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion requires a special exhibition ticket of $16 for adults, with discounts for students, military personnel and seniors; DMA Members and children 11 and under are free.

Images: Iris van Herpen, Hybrid Holism, Dress, July 2012, metallic coated stripes, tulle, and cotton, collection of the designer, © Iris van Herpen, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios; Iris van Herpen, Refinery Smoke, Dress, July 2008, untreated woven metal gauze, cow leather, and cotton, Groninger Museum, 2012.0196, © Iris van Herpen, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios; Iris van Herpen, Radiation Invasion, Dress, September 2009, faux leather, gold foil, cotton, and tulle, Groninger Museum, 2012.0201, © Iris van Herpen, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios; Iris van Herpen, Magnetic Motion, Dress, September 2014, 3-D–printed transparent Photopolymer and SLA (stereolithography) resin, High Museum of Art, Purchase with funds from the Decorative Arts Acquisition Trust and through prior acquisitions, 2015.82, © Iris van Herpen, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

About the Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is among the 10 largest art museums in the country and is distinguished by its commitment to research, innovation and public engagement. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 23,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the nation’s largest arts district, the Museum welcomes over 650,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary events, and dramatic and dance presentations. Since the Museum’s return to free general admission in 2013, the DMA has welcomed more than two and a half million visitors. For more information, visit DMA.org.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.