Couture Confluence: Iris van Herpen’s Fusion of Fashion, Art, and Nature – Sculpting the Senses at MAD November 29 – April 28

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Set against the backdrop of the Musée des Arts décoratifs, the exhibition “Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses” (29 November 2023 – 28 April 2024) is a testament to avant-garde fashion. Iris van Herpen, renowned for blending traditional Couture craftsmanship with modern innovation, pushes fashion boundaries.

The exhibition, curated by Cloé Pitiot and Louise Curtis, spotlights over a hundred haute couture pieces by van Herpen, intermingling with contemporary art and artifacts from the natural sciences. This fusion emphasizes the designer’s approach that melds fashion with art, science, and nature.

Iris, born in 1984, has an intimate relationship with the natural world and classical dance, both influencing her fashion philosophy. After pivotal stints with Alexander McQueen and Claudy Jongstra, she launched her own label in Amsterdam in 2007. A trailblazer, her 2010 3D-printed dress from the Crystallization Collection remains iconic. Her design philosophy thrives on the interplay of various disciplines – from art and dance to physics and biology. Committed to sustainability, her eco-conscious designs often incorporate recycled materials.

The retrospective is thematically organized, with water as a central motif. Van Herpen’s latest collection, Carte Blanche, interacts with David Spriggs’ “Origins”, creating a captivating aquatic experience. Other themes explored include the human skeleton and the symbiotic relationship between the body and its environment, with pieces like Ferruccio Laviani’s Gothic cabinet and Tim Walker’s evocative photographs.

Concluding the exhibition is a cosmic display of van Herpen’s creations, juxtaposed with Kim Keever’s ethereal photographs. The immersive experience culminates with a behind-the-scenes look into van Herpen’s studio, her accessory collection, and a video montage of her runway shows.

Accompanying this visual journey is a soundscape by Salvador Breed, enhancing the immersive experience. “Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses” is more than a fashion exhibition; it’s a deep dive into van Herpen’s multidimensional universe, celebrating her continuous exploration and innovation.

— Musée des Arts décoratifs

107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris +33 (0) 1 44 55 57 50




Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.