The Royal Ontario Museum Acquires Couture Dress from Iris Van Herpen’s Aeriform

Magazine for Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Technology

Dome Dress Aeriform collection, Fall 2017. Photo courtesy of Yannis Vlamos

The Royal Ontario Museum Acquires Couture Dress from Iris Van Herpen’s Aeriform Collection Fall 2017

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Iris van Herpen’s Dome Dress, from the Dutch fashion designer’s Fall 2017 Aeriform collection. The signature piece was commissioned exclusively for the ROM and was purchased with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust. The dress was designed in collaboration with Canadian artist and architect Philip Beesley, and will be on display during the Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion exhibition, in the Roloff Beny Gallery, opening to October 8, 2018 at the ROM.

The collaboration between van Herpen and Beesley is both fashion and sculpture – a gravity-defying silhouette floats like a suspended silver cloud that looks weightless. The dress is made from over 300 zinc-coated steel, laser-cut forms, hand-molded into three-dimensional domes. With nature as a muse, the lace-like domes mimic bubbles of air that reflect light and billow around the body. The Dome Dress from the Aeriform collection was presented at Paris Couture week, marking the designer’s 10th anniversary.

The Museum has also commissioned a documentary by fashion filmmaker and art director Stylianos Pangalos. The film follows van Herpen and Beesley’s collaborative process — from inception, to creation and to the final reveal on the runway of Paris in 2017, documenting the conceptual ideas and technical explorations between the two artists, and their intertwined work to fabricate the Dome Dress.

“The Dome Dress and the documentary are important additions to the ROM’s permanent collection of Textiles & Fashion,” said Alexandra Palmer, the ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator. “The Museum’s extensive collections continue to provide the world with an opportunity to explore the long history of making fashion and textiles, and the experiments that have evolved with new and old technologies. By seeing the masterful work of the Dome Dress and understanding how such extraordinary fashion is made, the public is better able to appreciate and engage with our fashion future.”

“The Aeriform collection explores the relationship between the body and its elemental surroundings; between water and air; between our inside and outside; and between darkness and lightness,” said van Herpen.

Beesley added, “The Dome Dress creates a hovering, scintillating world that wraps all the way around the body, carrying the element of light. Each tiny bit of movement turns into light that reflects as it moves around us.”

Van Herpen and Beesley have worked together since 2012. Their work has been cited by Vogue’s Suzy Menkes as a powerful fashion mix of nature and technology. In addition to the acquisition, their shared designs from Voltage (2013), Magnetic Motion (2014), and Hacking Infinity (2015) will be on display in the during the exhibition.

On view from June 2 to October 8, 2018, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion showcases the evolution of van Herpen’s leading-edge design with one-of-a-kind pieces from 15 collections spanning 2008 to 2015. Co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands, the exhibition was co-curated by Sarah Schleuning formerly of the High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum. Running concurrently is the ROM’s presentation of Philip Beesley: Transforming Space.

Exhibit Patron: The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation