Nov. 28, 2023

From September 2025 up to the spring of 2026, Kunsthal Rotterdam will be paying homage to the famous Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, who is known for being one of today’s most avant-garde couturiers. A pioneer in the use of innovative technologies within her discipline, Iris van Herpen breaks with fashion conventions while still embracing traditional haute-couture craftmanship. The exhibition Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses presents a hundred iconic creations that reveal Van Herpen’s continuous search for new interpretations of femininity and which challenge our views on Haute Couture.

The exhibition has its world premiere at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, where it was opened this afternoon by Queen Máxima. This captivating retrospective brings together fashion, contemporary art, design, and science and is a sensory exploration of the designer’s universe. The exhibition raises questions about the position of the body in space, the relationship between clothing and its environment, and about the future of fashion in a rapidly changing world.  

Realm of imagination 

In the exhibition, haute-couture pieces by Iris van Herpen engage in a dialogue with contemporary artworks by, among others, Collectif Mé, Wim Delvoye, Kate MccGwire, Damien Jalet, Kohei Nawa, Casey Curran, Rogan Brown, Jacques Rougerie, and design objects by Neri Oxman, Ren Ri, Ferruccio Laviani, and Tomáš Libertíny. Furthermore, the interaction with items from the field of natural sciences, such as skeletons and fossils, also spikes Van Herpen’s works with a unique resonance. With her dedication to ‘slow fashion’, and her multidisciplinary train of thought, Iris van Herpen is able to transcend boundaries and inspire us to reconsider our relationship with fashion, extending it into the realm of imagination. Punctuated by research and experiments, Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses offers a fascinating journey through the designer’s unique and hybrid universe. 


The exhibition is realised in collaboration with Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris and Maison Iris van Herpen, and curated by Cloé Pitiot and assistant-curator Louise Curtis, with an exhibition design by Studio Nathalie Crinière. The exhibition is accompanied by a multisensory sound composition by Salvador Breed.  

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