GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Every new season, the fashion industry rings with buzz about innovation, when in reality fashion is a giant ouroboros, infinitely consuming and re-presenting itself. True innovation is difficult to master in a field so fast-moving and codified, and is an accomplishment that makes Dutch designer Iris van Herpen stand out. Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, a multi-floor exhibition at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), features 45 haute couture outfits from 15 of van Herpen’s collections, and truly makes a case for fashion as a fine art.
The artist has covered an astonishing amount of ground since debuting her label’s first collection in 2007. In 2012, she was inducted as a guest member into the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture — among the youngest of designers to receive this prestigious distinction. The GRAM show was co-organized with and originally presented at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands — the latter was the first institution to recognize and begin collecting van Herpen’s couture as fine artwork.