Iris van Herpen:

Transforming Fashion 

3-D-printed couture from the acclaimed designer

text and images courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

Above: Iris van Herpen, Refinery Smoke, Dress, July 2008. Untreated woven metal gauze and cow leather. Groninger Museum. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. 

Beginning on February 24, Phoenix Art Museum will host the exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, celebrating the career of the Dutch fashion designer. Renowned for her use of 3-D printing, van Herpen is widely considered one of contemporary fashion’s most progressive creators, and is a favored designer of style icons, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Björk, Cara Delevingne among others.

The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Groninger Museum (the Netherlands) and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Georgia) and will feature 45 ensembles from 15 collections spanning 2008 to 2015, a selection of van Herpen’s fantastical shoe designs and footage from runway shows. Phoenix Art Museum is the western-most and final U.S. destination to host this acclaimed exhibition.

Above left: Iris van Herpen, Hybrid Holism, Dress, July 2012. Metallic coated stripes, tulle, and cotton. Collection of the designer. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. Above right: Iris van Herpen. Photo courtesy of: Jean Baptiste Mondino and Iris van Herpen.

“We’re delighted to bring the singular vision of Iris van Herpen to Phoenix Art Museum,” said Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “Her multidisciplinary approach to creation, melding art, science and architecture with traditional methods of garment construction, represents a radical, contemporary vision that we’re proud to host in our Museum. We’re so excited to be able to share the best of international art and fashion with our community, right in the heart of our city.”

Since her first runway show in 2007, the 33-year-old Dutch designer has made a name for herself within and beyond the fashion world by combining tradition with radical innovation. Van Herpen is unparalleled in her multidisciplinary approach to creation; her most prominent collaborators include artists, architects, and scientists such as Philip Beesley, Jólan van der Wiel, and Bart Hess, as well as teams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Above left: Iris van Herpen, Biopiracy, Dress, March 2014. 3-D-printed thermoplastic polyurethane 92A-1 with silicon coating. In collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise. Collection of Phoenix Museum of Art, Gift of Arizona Costume Institute. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. Above right: Iris van Herpen, Voltage, Dress, January 2013. In collaboration with Philip Beesley. Laser-cut 3-D polyester film lace and microfiber. Collection of the designer. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. 

In 2011, TIME Magazine included her 3-D printed dresses on its list of 50 Best Inventions. Van Herpen is hailed as a pioneer for her use of 3-D printing as a construction technique and guiding aesthetic principle, utilizing the technology to create sculptural garments with unfamiliar forms. Her distinct viewpoint has inspired collaborations with progressive musicians and actresses such as Björk, Tilda Swinton, Gwendoline Christie and Grimes. Her special projects include dressing Scarlett Johansson for the film Lucy, creating the dress Beyoncé wore in her “Mine” music video and producing Lady Gaga’s ensemble for the launch of her “Fame” fragrance.

A former ballet dancer, van Herpen has also created costumes for the Paris Opera and the New York City Ballet, collaborating with choreographer Benjamin Millepied (of the 2010 Black Swan film) and the Berlin-based dance company, Sasha Waltz & Guests.

Above: Iris van Herpen, Hybrid Holism, Dress, July 2012. 3-D-printed UV-curable polymer. In collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise. High Museum of Art, purchase with support from the Friends of Iris van Herpen. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. 

“Iris van Herpen’s unique fusion of technology with couture craftsmanship has made her a pioneer of Paris haute couture and an undeniable agent of change in the fashion world,” said Dennita Sewell, the Jacquie Dorrance Curator of Fashion Design. “Her ‘New Couture’ blends the past and future into a distinct vision of the present, and completely reimagines the possibilities of what fashion can and will become.”

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion 

February 24 – May 13

Phoenix Art Museum


Members’ Preview Day 

February 23, 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm

Phoenix Art Museum Members are invited to preview the exhibition before it opens to the public. No RSVP necessary.

First Friday 

March 2, 2018 | 6 pm – 10 pm

Every First Friday, Phoenix Art Museum offers free general admission and $5 special exhibition pricing to Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion from 6 pm – 10 pm. Enjoy live music, in-gallery performances, and more. For details, see


Arizona Storytellers: Stylish Stories 

March 14, 2018 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Fashion goes beyond clothing. It can be a statement of who we are and how we want the world to see us. Join The Arizona Republic and for a night celebrating self-expression in the Great Hall at Phoenix Art Museum. Each ticket includes free entry to the famed Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion exhibition. Purchase tickets here: