Dutch designer’s leap of faith in Australia pays off

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen first visited Australia for skydiving aged 17. Now the creative mastermind has brought a visual feast to Brisbane.
'Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses' at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Photo: Supplied. A darkened room with mannequins displaying vibrant garments with floral patterns.

The biomorphic and futuristic garments of Amsterdam-based fashion designer Iris van Herpen have become something instantly recognisable. Not only have her designs adorned the likes of Beyoncé, Björk and Blanchett, but for this year’s Paris Haute Couture Week, van Herpen has transformed the body itself into “aerial sculptures” – a step that grounds her innovation and creativity not only as a designer, but as an artist.

On the occasion of her major exhibition opening at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) this past weekend, van Herpen shared that she first visited Australia as a thrill-seeking 17-year-old. Here she took that leap of faith – what she recalled as a ‘reset of body and mind’ – and six years later in 2007, opened her eponymous and now hugely successful atelier in Amsterdam.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne and was most recently engaged in consultation for the Emerging Writers’ Festival and ArtsGen. Instagram @lleizy_