For Immediate Release

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion Opens Oct. 23

Fashion takes center stage at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) as more than 50 sculptural masterpieces by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen make their Midwest debut this fall. Since interning for legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen, van Herpen’s designs have been featured on the runways of Paris, Amsterdam and London and in the galleries of museums from Paris to New York. 

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, on view at GRAM, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 23, 2016-January 15, 2017, will fill the entire third floor of the Museum. The exhibition features 45 haute couture outfits carefully selected from 15 of van Herpen’s collections designed from 2008 through 2015: 18 pieces from the designer’s most recent lines, a selection of her shoe designs and 27 works from van Herpen’s solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands. 

In addition to van Herpen’s designs, a hands-on touch material” section of the exhibition will encourage visitors to explore some of the more unusual materials she uses including translucent stainless steel fabric and structures made from the tines of children’s umbrellas. 

Iris continues to redefine fashion and its place in the art world,” said GRAM Director & CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. Like most artists, she continually experiments and tests new ideas to realize her artistic vision, be that capturing the movement of water or the visualization of sound waves. That creative spirit is central to all we do at GRAM and we’re excited to share such a breathtaking exhibition.” 

Iris’ designs have been described as having a sublime beauty,’” said GRAM Chief Curator Ron Platt. She accomplishes that by melding design, technology, fashion and science in a manner that seems almost effortless but remains deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship.”

Van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984) produced her first collection in 2007, shortly after graduating from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Born in the small town of Wamel, she is now based primarily in Amsterdam. In 2012 she became a member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, where her designs regularly appear in biannual Paris runway shows. Van Herpen divides her time between the contained world of her studio, her global network of collaborators and the international stage of fashion. 

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands. The exhibition was 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. GRAM is the première Midwest venue for Transforming Fashion. The Grand Rapids presentation of Transforming Fashion is made possible by the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Wolverine Worldwide Foundation, Steelcase Inc., Conduit Studio, A.K. Rikk’s, Eenhoorn LLC, Greenleaf Trust, Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, Haworth, James and Mary Nelson, Progressive AE, Dirk Hoffius, brightly, Gill Industries, Bill and Kate Scarbrough, Triangle Associates, Inc., J. Visser Design and Greg and Meg Willit. 

The exhibition will be complemented by a series of presentations from special guests including Schleuning, who will provide anecdotes about working with van Herpen on the exhibition. GRAM members can take advantage of two member-only opportunities to preview Transforming Fashion before it opens to the public — a member preview party on Oct. 21 and a member day on Oct. 22.

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Focusing on art, design, and creativity, GRAM provides diverse platforms for experiences, ideas, and dialogue that enrich the human spirit and build practical learning skills. Through dynamic exhibitions, collections, learning initiatives, and community collaborations, GRAM increasingly serves as a cultural beacon and civic anchor. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing; GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft.

For GRAM’s hours and admission fees, visit or call 616 – 831-1000.

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