Jul 4, 2014
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Andam 2014: how Kering will help Iris Van Herpen

Jul 4, 2014

Iris Van Herpen’s experimental work has appeared in both spectacular stage shows and in museums. That could quickly change. The Dutch designer, who is currently preparing a major project with Bjork, received 250,000 euros last Thursday to fund the development of her ready-to-wear line, which was launched last year.

Iris Van Herpen autumn-winter 2014 (DR)

When we met with her on Thursday, July 3rd at the 2014 Andam Fashion Awards, the brilliant designer explained how important the support of the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts would be to her.

"I am very attached to traditional know-how, and collaborating with new French craftspeople seems very natural to me," explained the designer, who recently put on a successful exhibition at Calais’ lace museum.

It may be a two-way street: "I think it could be also be exciting to show certain technological innovations to craftspeople who have not yet heard about them," said Van Herpen, who is proficient at 3D printing and is obsessed by the manufacturing-process for materials.

A mentor named Francois-Henri Pinault
"I will work with Iris for two seasons,” François-Henri Pinault explained to FashionMag on Thursday. “Not creatively, of course, but on her business plan. We’ll try to figure out what’s needed at this stage in development, and provide company resources in terms of research materials and product development. If it turns out that her specific needs match the expertise of one of our brands, we will put her in direct contact with that brand so that she’ll have an idea of how things are organized."

And so? "For new companies like Iris’, for example, we often see problems related to the supply chain. It’s very difficult to find the right contractor at the right time, and Kering can show her how all our subcontractors are managed in Italy for ready-to-wear, accessories and leather - which is one of our greatest areas of expertise ... I'm sure Iris will be happy!"

The funding will allow Van Herpen "to learn a few things about consumers of fashion,” said Bradly Dunn Klerk, the director of the Iris Van Herpen brand, with whom the designer once studied at ArtEZ, the Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. “It’s important to design clothes that women can wear and continue to appreciate over time.”

In order to win over the jury of the Andam Fashion Award 2014, Van Herpen presented three silhouettes in preview of her ready-to-wear collection, launched in 2013 following several years during which she participated in the haute couture calendar. The new line is distributed under the terms of an agreement with the London-based agency Tomorrow.

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