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2016/41/1 Dress and 'Aero' shoes, 'Lucid' collection, Autumn/Winter 2016-17, acrylic/ plasticised poly vinyl chloride tubing/ cotton/ cupro, designed and made by Iris van Herpen, The Netherlands with collaborating artist Philip Beesley, Canada; leather/ wood/ paint/ acrylic ('Aero' shoes) designed b. Click to enlarge.

Dress and 'Aero' shoes by Iris van Herpen, 'Lucid' collection

This dress from the Lucid collection is the product of a collaboration between fashion designer Iris van Herpen and artist and architect Philip Beesley. Together they conceived of the free-form hexagonal meshwork patterns that became the basis of a series of dresses. The design was refined through many variations, by hand and by computational modelling using parametric software, investigating how complex curvilinear forms could be translated into repeating cellular patterns. They combined and …


Object No.


Object Statement

Dress and 'Aero' shoes, 'Lucid' collection, Autumn/Winter 2016-17, acrylic/ plasticised poly vinyl chloride tubing/ cotton/ cupro, designed and made by Iris van Herpen, The Netherlands with collaborating artist Philip Beesley, Canada; leather/ wood/ paint/ acrylic ('Aero' shoes) designed by Iris van Herpen in collaboration with Julia Lundsten, Finsk, United Kingdom, 2016

Physical Description

The dress comprises a computationally-modelled layer of transparent, laser-cut acrylic hexagons and discs joined with Tygon tubing (plasticised poly vinyl chloride tubing) over a black cotton and cupro underdress. The effect over the skirt is of a bubbling silhouette. The underdress is fastened with a zipper and the overlay is opened and fastened by disconnecting and reconnecting the tubing from the acrylic shapes. The 'Aero' shoes comprise a laser-cut leather upper with back zipper, clear acrylic platform, which creates a hovering effect, black painted wood base with ribbed rubber sole. The dress and shoes were part of Iris van Herpen's Lucid collection, presented in Paris on 8 March 2016, during Paris Fashion Week (Autumn/Winter 2016-17).


Label, woven white on black, inside back neck, 'IRIS VAN HERPEN'



860 mm



This collection explores the concept of lucid dreaming. Within a lucid dream, the dreamer is conscious of the dream state and therefore is able to exert a degree of control on what is happening. 'When I design, the draping process most of the time happens to me unconsciously. I see lucid dreams as a microscope with which I can look into my unconsciousness. In this collection, I have tried to bring my state of "reality" and my state of dreaming, together' notes the designer.

Both the models and the audience are mirrored as one in the show space, creating a close-up and intimate experience that is amplified by seventeen large optical light screens (OLF). Depending on the viewing angle, movement and proximity to the sheets, the perception of the audience that view the models is continuously shifted and deluded to reflect the fine line between reality and unreality. The visual alienation of the OLF was influential to van Herpen her design process.

There are two main design techniques presented in the collection: the lucid looks and the phantom dresses. The lucid looks result from the designer's continuous collaboration with the artist and architect Philip Beesley. These looks are made from transparent hexagonal laser-cut elements that are connected with translucent flexible tubes, creating a glistering bubble-like exoskeleton around the wearer's body. The phantom looks are made with a super light tulle to which iridescent stripes are fused, shimmering the silhouette illusory.

Continuing van Herpen's practice of fusing digital technology with handcraft, the collection features two 3D printed Magma dresses that combine flexible TPU printing, creating a fine web together with polyamide printing. One of the dresses is stitched from 5,000 3D printed elements. This season van Herpen opted for organic, circular, and voluminous silhouettes in light, iridescent colours of nude, green, and gray.

The shoes, desiged by Iris van Herpen, and made by Finsk (Julia Lundsten) are made from wood, laser-cut leather and an ultra-thin transparent acrylic heel that separate the sole and the upper, creating a hovering look.

Iris van Herpen (b. 1984, Wamel, the Netherlands) is a fashion designer and couturier renowned for her experimental, futuristic and darkly fantastical aesthetic. Her work is often developed through collaborations with artists, digital designers, engineers and architects. An early adoption of 3D printing techniques places her work in the vanguard of the technology's introduction into fashion. Van Herpen studied Fashion Design at Artez Institute of the Arts Arnhem and, in 2007, established her eponymous women's wear label. In 2011, she became a guest member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture enabling her to show her collections as part of the official calendar during Paris Couture Week. Her work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions and the subject of two major solo exhibitions: Iris Van Herpen, Groninger Museum, Groningen, 2012; and Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 2015-16. Van Herpen has received numerous awards including the 2015 Marie-Claire Prix de la mode for best Dutch conceptual designer; the 2014 ANDAM Awards Grand Prix, and Time magazine named Van Herpen's 3D printed dresses one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011.

Philip Beesley (b. 1956, United Kingdom, lives and works Toronto, Canada) is an experimental artist and architect. He leads the interdisciplinary design firm Philip Beesley Architect Inc. (PBIA), located in Toronto, Canada, and is Professor in Architecture at the University of Waterloo and Professor of Digital Design and Architecture & Urbanism at the European Graduate School. PBIA, involves a collective of artists, scientists, architects and engineers, who combine the durable crafts of heavy machining and building with advanced digital visualization, industrial design, digital prototyping, and mechatronics engineering. Sculptural work in the past three decades has focused on immersive textile environments, landscape installations and intricate geometric structures. The most recent generations of these works feature interactive lighting systems and kinetic mechanisms that use dense arrays of microprocessors and sensors. Chemical protocell metabolisms are in the early stages of development within many of these environments. These works contemplate the ability of an environment to be near-living, to stimulate intimate evocations of compassion with viewers through artificial intelligence and mechanical empathy. The conceptual roots of this work lie in 'hylozoism', the ancient belief that all matter has life. PBAI's collaborators include Rachel Armstrong, Philippe Baylaucq, Petra Bogias, Martin Correa, Rob Gorbet, Iris van Herpen, Dana Kulic, Sal Miranda, Anne Paxton, Rolf Seifert, Michael Stacey, Darcie Watson and Mingyi Zhou.

Julia Lundsten (b. 1975 Finland) is a shoe designer based in London. Lundsten graduated from London's Royal College of Art in 2003 and established the FINSK label in 2004. While studying there, she won the prestigious Manolo Blahnik Award two years running. Other accolades include The Finnish Young Designer of the Year Award in 2007, The Smart Car Design Prize in 2002 and Elle Accessories Designer of the Year (FIN) in 2010. Some of the biggest inspirations for FINSK have derived from architecture, furniture details as well as structures found in nature. With an architect father and interior designer mother, Lundsten, who has been dubbed the "Eames of footwear", has cultivated an eye for design clearly reflected in her work. Likening a shoe to a chair, the heel and sole of a FINSK shoe are viewed as the legs, and the upper, as the seat. As well as designing for FINSK, Julia currently consults for and collaborates with other brands including Nokian, the Finnish heritage rubber footwear brand. In the past she has also produced runway collections for Basso & Brooke, Marimekko, Tia Cibani and Ports 1961, and in 2016 FINSK collaborated with Iris van Herpen for her runway show during Paris Fashion Week, Autumn/ Winter 2016.

Drawn from text on the designer's website:, accessed 31 May 2016

Technical information about type of plastics and materials:

The lace-like hexagonal meshwork of this dress is composed of digital laser-cut transparent polymer (ACRYLIC) tiles attached together with transparent, flexible tubular links. Component profiles are developed for laser-cutting from hexagon and circular profiles that include radiating sections sized for press-fit connection inserted within the links. The materials used for this fabric had to carry quite demanding functions-highly reflective crystal- like surfaces; tough, resilient molecular structure permitting shaping into strong, thin filaments for the lace-like meshwork structures; variable elasticity to give a comfortable feel and flexing for supple movement. The main material is copolyester, a tough, resilient, water-clear polymer membrane sheet. The cross-linked molecular structure that gives this material its strength is created by modifying polyethylene terephalate (PET), a material used in high-performance fibres. The reflective finish of the copolyester is maintained by laser cutting that polishes the cut edges to a mirror-smooth surface. Transparent Tygon tubing is used within radiating hexagonal arrays of links that connect the polymer tiles, flexing around the laser-cut joints and making tight-gripped press-fit connections. Tygon is a branded high-performance tubing used within medical industries, formulated for long-lasting resilience.

The special 'hand', flexible draping and shaped silhouettes created by the Lucid cellular textile fabric series comes from adjustment that precisely balances dimensions and orientations of flexible links with graduated sizes of semi-rigid tiles. Areas of free-form bubble silhouettes are created by combining varying series of tiles arranged in graduated sizes, developing doubly-curved hyperbolic and domed shells within the membrane surface of the fabric. Light passing through the tubular links and transparent tiles refracts and bends, playing constantly-shifting specular highlights and lensed shadows within the layers of each dress.

Philip Beesley's contribution to the collaboration, and use of computational modelling:

Philip Beesley contributed textile engineering and material explorations accompanied by computational modeling to the Lucid collection, working in close dialogue with Iris van Herpen, with multiple cycles of exchanges between Beesley's Living Architecture Systems studio in Toronto and Atelier IVH in Amsterdam. New kinds of interlinking and complex folding patterns in fabric were developed during this exchange, exploring how transparent reflective shaped tiles can make freely formed domed and bubble-shaped silhouettes while also providing flexible draping and fluid movement.

During an intensive 'retreat' session where they worked directly together in Toronto at Beesley's studio, the pair conceived of the free-form hexagonal meshwork patterns that eventually formed the core of the series of dresses seen in Lucid. This work was refined through numerous cycles where manipulations by hand alternated with computational design. Using parametric software, specialized digital modeling included unfolding patterns analyzing how complex curvilinear forms might be translated into repeating cellular patterns making up the fabric. During the several days they first worked together within the Toronto studio, groups of materials--formed, stretched, cast elements, interwoven with stocks of hardware and swatches of fabrics and leathers--were spread out and combined together, gathering and creating new hybrids and building new composite fabrics.

Particular studies included meticulous exploration of surface treatments including iridescence, specular highlight and lensing of light. New laser-cutting metal machining made it possible to create molds and screens for thermal casting and forming components. Hybrid combinations of vacuum forming, laser cutting with free-form bubble casting created striking optical effects. Van Herpen and Beesley worked progressively through variations, wrapping them around arms and shoulders, pushing and pulling them to see them move, and holding up light fixtures around and through them to see how light and shadow could play. Closely observing the increasingly complex geometries of the test fabrics, they experimented with direct skin contact and with intricate combinations of multiple layers. Subtle plays of dappled shadow, lensed projections and prismatic reflections emerged. By the end of their session, large parts of the industrial warehouse space were filled with new possibilities.

Notes provided by Bradly Dunn Klerks, Director, Iris van Herpen, email 31 March 2016.



The dress was part of Iris van Herpen's 'Lucid' collection and shown in Paris on 8 March 2016 during Paris Fashion Week (Autumn/Winter 2016-17). The dress and shoes were subsequently sold to MAAS by Iris van Herpen. The shoes were made for the show but the pair sold to MAAS do not appear to have been worn. Iris van Herpen supplied a dome sample, spare acrylic hexagons, two illustrations and digital files including fastening instructions, images and footage of the Paris runway show.


Credit Line

Purchased with funds from the MAAS Foundation, 2016

Acquisition Date

28 October 2016

Cite this Object


Dress and 'Aero' shoes by Iris van Herpen, 'Lucid' collection 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 July 2022, <>


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