Paris Fashion Week: Iris Van Herpen Haute Couture Spring/Summer 21

Lindsay Judge   |   26-01-2021

Iris van Herpen’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection “Roots of Rebirth” explores a symbiosis of high technology and the artisanal craftsmanship of couture with inspiration taken from the fungi’s of the earth and their extraordinary and intricate textures and layers.


Known for her innovative use of fabrics and texture’s Van Herpen’s latest collection bridges the gap between technology and nature, weaving a unique dialogue between the two.



The Dutch designer explores the rich, yet deeply fragile interconnectedness of an unfamiliar world, the world of fungi and the life-bearing fine threads of mycelium. The collection details the extraordinary existence of this winding ‘fabric of life,’ the marvelling world of undergrowth tapestry.



Van Herpen takes reference from a book “Entangled Life”  by scientist Merlin Sheldrake which notes that ‘fungi is the ecological connective tissue, the living seam by which much of the world is stitched into relation.’ Sheldrake said: “Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. These astonishing organisms challenge our animal imaginations and make questions of many of our well-worn concepts, from individuality to intelligence.”

This unusual source of inspiration may at first seem quite surprising but the true beauty of the details in one of nature’s gifts is both beautiful and intricate when recreate in fabric.



Two looks embody the ‘henosis’ technique, in which multiple translucent layers of duchess fabric were dyed in pastel hues, forming a ‘mantodea’ motif. An off-white laser-cut venation formed by a myriad of hovering fins sprout outwards, radiating each motion into a delicate lacy array of
invisible interconnectedness. In other creations, hand-embroidered roots surge and symmetrically entwine the body in transformative tones, from liquid copper to deep shades of burnt umber. Hand-pleated mahogany silk were draped to fan out into hemispheric blooms.

Two kinetic crowns were created in collaboration with artist Casey Curran, each gently shape-shifting their silhouette, continuously re-framing the visage. Eighteen
transparent monofilament threads snake their way through a series of 18 brass coils, arranged to create a serpentine motion in the lifting and falling of each quill, symbolic of the turbulent motion of our minds, through which we rectify our reality.

Glass-organza is intricately pleated in an ombré of white to vivid amber, branching out from a hand-embroidered bodice to form fractal networks. A mosaic of fine-edged liquescent gills were 3D-embroidered onto expandable lace, laser-cut to parametrically reveal fine details of skin between amethyst hued fibre.



As fungi maps the skin of the earth, such is also the composition of Van Herpen’s Haute Couture. In another look, up-cycled fabric made from marine debris by Parley for the Oceans was printed and incised into thousands of fine trilateral tessellations, initiating a fragile symbiosis with the skin through seamless gradients in translucency.

The collection is a performance dedicated to the importance of our being and the valiance of


See more of the collection below: