All images in this post from the Vogue Runway site. I am so beholden to them.
Iris Van Helpern, Haute Couture Fall 2019
If William Shakespeare’s play “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was set in a modern, futuristic backdrop, Titania would wear everything here. Kidding aside, Haute Couture designer Iris Van Helpern has blown my mind with her uber-innovative collection in which she collaborated with kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe.
The collection is mind boggling – in a good way. In fact, Nicole Phelps, writer for Vogue Runway, kind of struggles to review Van Helpern’s collection; here are Ms. Phelps’ own words: “There’s computer programming and physics and alchemy behind each one; they’re complicated to make and just as difficult to explain.” I recommend reading the entire review on the Vogue Runway website.
It’s not innovative in silhouette (very little in fashion is); the newness is in the surface design, materials used and their apparent manipulation. Ever heard of Suminagashi, a Japanese paper marbling technique? Me neither. An adaptation of Suminagashi was used in this collection, plus much more. My inner fiber artist came alive in a big way by just looking at the images from the runway show. I can only hope there is a museum exhibit of these garments in the future so we can all get a closer look — true-to-form seamstress statement. Heh.
Then, there’s Guo Pei’s Haute Couture 2019 Fall runway, which might put Titania in a quandary. Pei’s collection is a theatrical costume department’s dream. There are a few looks that could be traditionally Titania. Whereas Van Helpern’s entire line is a 21st century tech fairy queen, Guo Pei went for the macabre, other-world look and succeeded. I would not have included it in this post, except that my inner Titania got interested in the images (which I’ve posted here).
Go read the editor’s review for Guo Pei, too. I’m always interested in what the fashion editors think of a particular collection and where they have more information about the materials used (which is of particular interest to us) and the designer’s point of view.
Do you think there’s a detail or a complete piece in the above two collections you really want to duplicate for yourself? Which one? Seriously, I find lots of inspiration in these shows for my own hand made wardrobe. Even the seemingly over-the-top collections have an inspiring detail or two to explore. The atelier’s couture seamstresses use a needle and thread to create their work. So do we.