In a recent hunt for inspiration, we came across Iris Van Herpen’s Fall and Winter 2018 fashion show, Syntopia, and it truly mesmerized us. From the curious exploration of shapes and movement, to the muted yet glistening color palette that demonstrated elegance, we were captivated by her vision from start to finish. Keep reading to see a debrief of the day from an artists perspective.
The high fashion world always promises to enchant its viewers: the sleek atmosphere of a fashion show that is buzzing with anticipation, the out-of-this-world decor that sets the stage, and the ethereal models that glide down the catwalk cloaked in wispy textures and innovative textiles. At Vivince, we love to see the artistry that comes together to create the moment: beyond the critical reviews of clothing or the analysis of any one aspect, we love to see how each artist: architects, interior designers, and models contribute to a shared experience that is truly momentary.
Rooted in the theme Syntopia, the entire show was centered around slowing down movement, and the venue itself a time-lapse concept. The totally blacked-out venue was illuminated by the mysterious movement of “In 20 Steps,” a geometric installation by artists Studio Drift. The slow-moving art piece suspended from the ceiling was composed of glass tubes which simulated the movement of wings in flight. Vogue writer Amy Verner states,
“If the 17 looks came and went in roughly 10 minutes, the overhead installation would have represented less time than it took you to read this sentence. ‘Often I like to zoom out, but this was really about zooming into almost one second of my whole process,’ Van Herpen said.”
Not only does Van Herpen draw up fabulous designs, she is haute couture’s chief scientist and she embeds the influences of biology and physics in not only her garments, but in the venue in which they’re showcased.
What could have easily been a flashy fall cutting edge series of designs was dialed down into a muted masterpiece of a collection and was done with detailed intention. Inspired by Victorian-era chronophotography and the flight i, the soft luminescent ripples of fabric seen gliding down the runway came at a stark contrast to the cage shapes in stainless steel, caped designs. See a few of our favorite picks that encapsulate and complement the ethereal geometric theme.
Artistry collides in this captivating theme of Syntopia that has more layers the deeper you look.The word itself means “biology merging with technology” and alludes to the iridescent hues and cutting-edge shapes that took the captivated the runway. Vogue’s contributor notes,
“An interesting postscript to the word “syntopia” is that its meaning also apparently suggests a bridge between utopian and dystopian ideals, which still dovetails well with Van Herpen’s work. As bestselling books Homo Deus and Life 3.0 explore the possibility of human gods and the rise of artificial intelligence (naturally, she’s read both), her designs are significant, even when they aren’t conducive to wearing (see the fully restricted arms of the final dress, which was “layered like a feather’s architecture”). Rather than imagined as some runway science fantasy, they are inextricably linked to science. And this creates an altogether different rapport with time than the usual seasonal collection. As Van Herpen summed up best, “These pieces are not necessarily here and now. They both connect to something that is coming and something that has already come.”
This profound artistry and collision of disciplines and exploration was pulled off in a remarkably cohesive demonstration. From the fine-tuned details to the mesmerizing designs, we loved every element of this intentional masterpiece and were inspired by its artistry.