Don’t try to sit down in this couture dress made of glass bubbles…

Is this the world’s most fragile dress?

Is this the world’s most fragile dress? Made entirely of hundreds of blown glass bubbles, you’d need swathes of, well, bubble wrap, to successfully keep it in your wardrobe. Oh and once you’ve managed to get it on without it fracturing into sharp shards, you probably shouldn’t move around too much.

But look beyond the practicalities (this is Paris Couture Week, after all) and you’ll find that Iris Van Herpen’s AW16 collection was a much bigger creative statement – an experiment that was all about sound waves.


Japanese musician Kazuya Nagaya produced musical vibrations using dozens of golden Zen bowls, which were positioned in patterns on the floor of the L’Oratoire du Louvre, an 18th-century Protestant church. As the sounds reverberated around the room they trembled through the bowls, the high ceilings and the delicate glass tutus.

Other pieces included a dress made of thousands of Swarovski crystals which had been sealed into a skin of transparent silicone, and plisse fabrics that had been sculpted to represent the patterns of sound waves.


Iris Van Herpen’s signature is bringing high fashion and high tech together, and with 3D printed shoes, laser cut detailing and fine fabrics made of engineered fibres five times thinner than human hairs, she produced a beautiful collection that respected both traditional and futuristic craft techniques.


And as couture week is surely the best time of the year to show us what’s now and next for fashion – however extreme – we can’t wait to see how Iris’ genius will one day translate to the mainstream.

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