When one thinks "runway," one doesn't often think "mushrooms," but the seemingly mystifying concept has hit the spotlight of couture. For the past year, a funky trend has driven many designers to have their own mushroom moment. Now, Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen is one of them.
Known for her eccentric and elaborate designs, Van Herpen took enthralling artistic liberty in fusing fungi with inspiration. Her “Roots of Rebirth” Spring 2021 collection, which debuted this week at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, goes beyond art imitating life. It's ambitious and eye-popping pieces explore the interconnectedness of our world, starting at the very roots. The metaphorical collection aims to illustrate nature’s intimate relationships, most of which are not too different from the web of connections we humans partake of above ground.
As quoted in Fashionista, the one-of-a-kind designer's goal was to create a line which "references the intricacy of fungi and the entanglement of life that breathes beneath our feet." The striking, avant-garde looks bring plenty of volume and whimsy. On some, the use of pleating reflects the gills of a mushroom, while on others, unique designs take over as a nod to the alluring geometric patterns that are often seen in nature. Each piece is cleverly decorated in earthy tones both bright and dull, celebrating all elements.
The “Roots of Rebirth” virtual show further enhanced Van Herpen’s concept, as particles on the runway rose above the ground, surrounding the models as they walked. In partnership with Parley for the Oceans, Van Herpen created at least one piece from marine debris.
While some might find mushrooms to be an otherwise unappealing organism, Van Herpen's stunnig collection turns the humble growth into something elegant and classy. Beautiful and bizarre, this collection transports the viewer to a new dimension, bringing the micro world into the macro as we observe natural phenomenon. Van Herpen has proven that fungi deserve their spot in the glamorous world of high-end fashion.
Read more about the stunning collection via Fashionista.
Photography by: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT