Iris van Herpen inspired by fungi for haute couture collection

Iris van Herpen showcased her latest collection ‘Roots of Rebirth’
during Paris Haute Couture Week, with 21 looks inspired by roots and

The collection explores the symbiosis of high technology with artisanal
craftsmanship of couture, referencing the “intricacy of fungi and the
entanglement of life that breathes beneath our feet,” said the Dutch
designer in the show notes.

Iris van Herpen has become known for her ethereal and transcendental
designs and for spring/summer 2021 it was mesmerising to see the quiver of
the pleats, designed to reference the gills of a mushroom interlinked with
lace-like mycelium threads and hand-embroidered roots entwining the

The composition of Van Herpen’s Haute Couture garments echoes fungi
activity. With glass-organza intricately pleated in an ombré of white to
vivid amber, seen branching out from hand-embroidered bodices to form
fractal networks. While a mosaic of fine-edged liquescent gills were 3D
embroidered onto expandable lace, lasercut to reveal fine details of skin
between amethyst hued fibre.

Delicacy and intrigue surround each piece, which looked even more
otherworldly when the models seemed to float down the digital catwalk on a
cloud of spores.

The ‘Henosis’ dress modelled by Natalia Vodianova embodies the roots of
rebirth. The trembling design made of translucent layers of white lace
sprouts out of a hand-embroidered bodice into a lasercut venation of
hundreds of hovering fins, which form waves with each motion to demonstrate
the invisible interconnectedness.

The Dutch couturier also partnered with Parley for the Oceans this
season, using upcycled fabric made from marine debris, which was then
printed and incised into thousands of fine trilateral tessellations,
initiating a fragile symbiosis with the skin through seamless gradients in

The collection also includes two kinetic crowns created in collaboration
with artist Casey Curran, designed to highlight the metamorphosis in the
fungi queendom. Each crown gentle shimmers, with transparent monofilament
threads, arranged to create a serpentine motion that looks though it is
shape-shifting its silhouette as the model walked.

Images: courtesy of Iris van Herpen photographed by Gio Staiano

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