Iris van Herpen explores the splendour of the planet in her AW21 Earthrise collection


With the Earth positioned at the forefront of the global agenda more than ever before, Iris van Herpen’s latest haute couture collection explores the splendour of this blue body we call home.

With the turn of the last century came the launch of Apollo 8, the first-ever crewed spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and witness the Earthrise from the Moon’s horizon. Astronauts looked over our revolving sphere from afar, to see a boundless, indescribable space; a living, breathing organism, unmarred by conflict, borders, hierarchies and all of the entrenched partisans that make up the minutiae of our quotidian lives.

To challenge the immensity of space that surrounds our tellurian haven, Iris van Herpen, enraptured by the ancient human dream to fly out into the stratosphere of the unfamiliar, collaborated with female world-champion skydiver, Domitille Kiger. The designer was fascinated by the choreographed performance of Kiger’s craft, fusing two diametrically-opposed worlds – artistry and science.

Kiger’s graceful sky-dancing embodies a new meaning of earthly freedom. Through her extreme speed and choreography (while sky-diving!), her custom Iris van Herpen Haute Couture gown reveals to us the turbulence of the intricate handwork. Made from thousands of blue spheres in colour gradients, embodying our ‘blue marble’ home, the gown spins off in an array of dazzling twists simultaneously.

The finale of the film is paradoxically a meditative moment, depicting a single person floating in space, merging the elements of dance, exploration and the innovative mind through this sky-dance. The ultimate intricacy, softness and delicacy of Haute Couture are merged for the first time with the extreme sport of skydiving, which requires ultimate resilience and toughness.

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