Van Herpen’s creations might at odds with the premise of couture, which is the work of so-called “petites mains” of highly skilled sewers who painstakingly embellish the lavish garments that represent the pinnacle of craft in fashion. (Chanel’s show today recreated its atelier to honor the skilled people who make its pricey couture.)

Technology generally represents the opposing force of mass manufacturing. Inventions such as the sewing machine made possible the whole category of ready-to-wear. The Met Museum’s exhibit on fashion in an age of technology takes its name, “Manus x Machina,” from the relationship between hands and machines.

The Met exhibit featured a few of Van Herpen’s garments, which still involve hands, too. One standout piece was composed of thousands of small, handblown glass bubbles, held together by liquid silicone. It was a perfect fusion of technology and couture as only Van Herpen does it.

A model presents a creation from the Fall/Winter 2016/2017 Haute Couture collection by Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen during the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 04 July 2016. The presentation of the Haute Couture collections runs from 03 to 07 July. EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT
Manus x machina.
Image: EPA/Etienne Laurent

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