26.08.2022, Fashion Interview

The new collaboration between AUBADE and IRIS VAN HERPEN, named SENSORY ILLUSION, dives in a magical botanical world, where the movements of the body reflect those of nature and gives sensual feelings.

AUBADE invites luxury brand IRIS VAN HERPEN to create an exclusive collection bringing the Dutch fashion designer’s creativity into the world of French lingerie. IRIS VAN HERPEN is looking towards nature, exploring its fragility and vitality, to create this collection where swirling leaf embroideries become mystical ornaments decorating the female body. IRIS VAN HERPEN is known for her other-worldly haut couture creations. Her work breaks down the boundaries between exceptional craftsmanship and groundbreaking multi-disciplinary techniques. Both houses came together around their shared passion for luxurious materials and complicated techniques, resulting in a beautiful 10-piece collection.

Echoing nature’s diversity, the collection is spiced with signature details: The wireless triangle bralette, bodysuit and nightgown all feature eye-catching U-shaped gold jewelry between the cups. IRIS VAN HERPEN has reinterpreted AUBADE’S iconic elegant nuances and given them a modern twist: graphic, architectural lines that contrast with the organic shapes of the embroidery. The botanical motif, revealing the skin, creates a seductive see-through effect in the décolleté, extended by embroidery on the back of the bras. The line is available in two complementary colorways, each expressing a different interpretation of sensuality: Golden Leaves and Silk Rose.

In a short interview the designer gives deeper insights into the background and the creation process of the special collaboration.

More than a fashion designer you are often defined as an artist. How do the world of art and your creations interconnect?
I’m appealed by both art and fashion and I see my body of work under the sign of creation and the exploration of the unexplored. Fusing multi-discplinary technologies with artisanal craftsmanship within my collections, my ambition is to reinvent today’s perception of fashion as the engine of innovation, defining Haute Couture as a source of transformation.

As a girl, you studied ballet and the idea of movement is central to your creations. Can you tell us a bit more?
My first passion was dance. I am trained in classical ballet and therefore, movement has always been an integral part of my design process. Dance has taught me much about my body as well as the transformation of both shape and movement. Taking inspiration from this kineaesthetic aspect and translating it into new forms and materiality, I see fashion as an extention of the human body and ultimately movement itself. It is really about the exploration of new forms of interactions between the body and garment as well as garment and the environment surrounding it. Last year I collaborated with the Dutch National Ballet and created designs for the ballet dancer Jingjing Mao, which have been captured in the short film Biomimicry. In the performance the dancer finds herself in a future in which mankind, science and nature are closely interwoven – an omnipresent concept throughout my work.

How important is nature and biomimetics in your creative process?
My work is deeply rooted within nature. Through biomimicry, I look closely at the forces behind the forms in nature and natural cycles to ultimately explore new shapes, techniques and expressions.​ This was also the vision, which we wanted to translate in our collaboration with Aubade: an innovative intricacy that expresses an organic femininity, transparency and layering as well as dynamic depth through optical linework. It is beautiful how organic linework can make your eye travel the skin. This was the concept behind it.

Do you believe creativity and sustainability are compatible in fashion?
I believe that the future of fashion belongs to sustainability. I see Haute Couture as as a transformative language, an interdisciplinary entity that emerges from the space in which innovation and craftsmanship interlace. Each one of my collections is a quest to venture beyond today’s definition of a garment, exploring new forms of femininity for a more meaningful, diverse and conscious fashion for the future, whilst focussing on eco-conscious materials and a made-to-order production approach with zero overproduction.

Are all garments still made in your Amsterdam studio in collaboration with your team?
Yes. All garments are produced in my Amsterdam atelier.

What role does lingerie play in the contemporary wardrobe?
I love lingerie as it’s so personal, its often a hidden gem that is mostly a private experience. In a world that becomes more transparent every day, there is a beautiful mystery to find in lingerie.

Can you tell us how your collaboration with Aubade came about and what you are working on?
Aubade approached us for a collaboration for a collection together, expressing the delicate Couture spirit of IVH closely to the skin. First various techniques in the lace were explored with layered embroidery ​and color gradients embroidered in it. After the lace techniques were developed the design process started and the sampling process.

How did the collaboration with Aubade come about?
I was contacted by the lingerie brand to collaborate on a line of corsetry. I liked the idea of expressing a women’s intimacy by creating second-skin products which evolve with the body. In my work I play with transparency and delicate textures, that seem to float over the skin. This experience allowed me to dive in even more into the beautiful core of intimacy.

Which common values do you share with the brand?
The two houses share the common passion for luxurious fabrics and complex craftsmanship.

How do we move from technological fashion to the world of ancestral knitwear?
The two universes are not so far apart. Indeed, traditional hosiery is very precise and meticulous; it is a clever mix of technicality and tradition. It takes more than 35 pieces to create a bra, with meticulous grading work, technology is at the service of tradition

Your 3D models are unachievable in the traditional way. Was it difficult to adapt to a market, conversely, focused on craftsmanship?
I like the challenges and complexity of corsetry work, the usage of lace for instance, which I also use in my collections. It’s a real collaboration where each house brought their own unique expertise and where Aubade really envisioned my desires of modernity through the art of corsetry. The Aubade team supported my desires for modernity with corsetry techniques.

The Aubade x Iris Van Herpen underwear seems sculptural for two reasons: on the one hand, it enhances the feminine curve; on the other hand, it is embellished with your touch giving pride of place to an architectural fashion. Was it obvious?
I wanted to revisit the signature ethereal gradients of Aubade by adding a drop of modernity… contrasting the graphic architectural lines with the organic shapes of the embroideries. And the botanical patterns unveiling the skin by creating a transparent effect. All worlds of the houses are joined: modernity, transparency and sensuality.

What were the challenges of this collaboration?
It was a challenge crafting the embroidery. Giving life to the leaves and making them swirl on the fabric, in order to become mystical ornaments which enhance a women’s body.

If you had to describe the Aubade x Iris Van Herpen pieces in 3 words?
Botanical – architectural – sensual

Picture courtesy of Iris Van Herpen/ Aubade/PR