CMOA Hosts Exhibition of Groundbreaking Fashion Designer

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | | 412.688.8690 / 412.216.7909

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion
February 4–May 1, 2017
Carnegie Museum of Art

Fashion designer Iris van Herpen (Dutch, b. 1984) marries precision and meticulous handcraft, inventive technological solutions, and a striking, futuristic aesthetic. Organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Groninger Museum, The Netherlands, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion gathers seven years of van Herpen’s original haute couture for this exhibition: her first North American tour. Opening February 4 at Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), it presents 15 of her collections across a bewildering range of materials and techniques. This Pittsburgh presentation is its easternmost US venue.


Iris van Herpen, “Refinery Smoke” Dress, July 2008, Untreated woven metal gauze and cow leather, Groninger Museum, 2012.0196 Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

Pittsburgh is a city of creative makers and fabricators, a center of technology and robotics, and a supportive place for artists. A growing tech sector and continued reckoning with its industrial past uniquely positions the city to respond to van Herpen’s designs, which are inspired by neuroscience and microbes; science fiction and the environment. She leans on new materials to do what traditional materials don’t, and employs new techniques to wring seemingly impossible forms out of traditional fabrics and common objects.

Iris van Herpen was accepted into the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the organization that governs the Paris fashion scene, in 2011, a recognition of her exacting craft and visionary approach. Her work stunned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s blockbuster group exhibition Manus x Machina. Celebrities like Beyonce, Bjork, Lady Gaga, and Scarlett Johansson have sought her luxe, otherworldly dresses. Transforming Fashion is a rare chance to experience the broad sweep of her extraordinary designs together in one place.

Iris van Herpen, "Radiation Invasion, Dress," September 2009, Faux leather, gold foil, cotton, and tulle, Groninger Museum, 2012.0201, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

Iris van Herpen, “Radiation Invasion” Dress, September 2009, Faux leather, gold foil, cotton, and tulle, Groninger Museum, 2012.0201, Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands. The exhibition is curated by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum.

Support for this exhibition has generously been provided by Creative Industries Fund NL.

The CMOA presentation of Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is organized by Rachel Delphia, The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art enriches people’s lives through art. The museum is committed to global engagement and regional advancement. We champion creativity and its importance to society with experiences that welcome, inspire, challenge, and inform. Our core activities—collecting, conserving, presenting, and interpreting works of art—make those experiences possible. Our world-class collection of over 30,000 works emphasizes art, architecture, photography, and design from the 19th century to the present. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Learn more: call 412.622.3131 or visit

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