A collaboration between a team of professors and students from the University of Waterloo and radical fashion designer Iris van Herpen mesmerized critics at Paris Fashion Week.

Waterloo’s Hylozoic Architecture research lab contributed to 10 dresses in van Herpen's new collection entitled Magnetic Motion. The team of architects and designers is led by Professor Philip Beesley from the School of Architecture, along with Professor Dana Kulic from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor Rob Gorbet from the Department of Knowledge Integration and Professor Matt Borland from the Department of Systems Design Engineering.

Supported by advanced computational modeling and industrial design, the group’s innovative designs combine precisely detailed polymer, crystal and leather components into interlinking three-dimensional fabric structures with striking qualities of flexibility, sparkle and transparency.

Professor Beesley and his collaborators’ new engineered fabrics bridge the gap between couture and ready-to-wear. One piece uses delicate thermoformed acrylics connected by silicone links. Another involves a hybrid pleat inspired by Mariano Fortuny, the early-twentieth-century designer, and expanded into a corrugated meshwork that combines leather, transparent polymer links and crystalline inclusions.

This long-standing partnership has been growing in momentum with Iris van Herpen’s launch of ready-to-wear lines of clothing that translates the radical experiment of her haute couture explorations into comfortable, highly finished form-fitting clothing. Suzy Menkes of Vogue magazine described the work as the most powerful fashion mix of nature and technology she has ever seen.

Students from the School of Architecture at Waterloo and recent grads were also involved with creating the Magnetic Motion fabrics, including Valerie Arthur, Laura di Fiore, Stephane Gaulin-Brown, Marta Kubacki, Andrea Ling, Julia Nakanishi, Jordan Prosser, Alice Song, Andjela Tatarovic and Alex Willms.

The fashion show took place at Paris' Pompidou Centre on September 30.

Details of the collaboration are available at www.philipbeesley.com and www.irisvanherpen.com.

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