FALL/WINTER 2023/2024 

The glitz, the glamour, and the relentless energy of Paris Fashion Week.

Working on the collection “Architectonics” was like diving into a fast-paced adventure —  participating in fittings, castings and photoshoots. Working endless hours in the atelier,  participating in the creation of each garment from inception to finalisations.

All this involved many different kinds of  handwork, including material making, hand  stitching, draping and fabric selection. I also explored different kinds of techniques  like laser cutting and 3D printing,  experimenting with all kinds of materials like silicone, metal, and resin, and most importantly, understanding how each and every step of the creative process is developed.

During my first month at the atelier, I  found myself immersed in the creation of Beyoncé’s custom dress for her Renaissance Tour. Her halo-shaped gown, hand beaded with thousands of individual gems, was a work that spanned 700 hours; the final outcome was nothing short of extraordinary. 

Each day brought a new challenge. We were gearing up for the upcoming exhibition “Iris Van Herpen Sculpting the Senses” at the Mad Museum in Paris scheduled for November and so there was an extra layer of anticipation and excitement in everything we did.

Of course, Iris was at the atelier everyday ensuring that everything was running smoothly.

One of the highlights was getting to work intimately and closely with the garments that would soon be  showcased at the exhibition.The ethos wasn’t just about making clothes; it was about creating wearable art. The epitome of this artistic boundary-breaking was a glass dress look, a challenging and intricate piece, who’s creation I was privy to.

Just a few months later, I found myself watching the live exhibition in Paris from afar, where Iris stood next to Máxima, Queen of the Netherlands, to open the showcase. Both were elegantly dressed in two of the designs I had been able to work with, and this image stood as a testament to the team’s exuberant efforts.

Behind the glitz and glamour, my experience at the atelier was a serious test of our dedication and endurance.  Our commitment was  unshakable, as we worked tirelessly, often through the night for grand occasions such as Paris Fashion Week. The mental and physical exhaustion and strain was more than I had anticipated. Small details were of the utmost importance, even more so when they concerned VIP guests, such as Maisie Williams or Camilla Cabello, two talent’s whose outfits I had worked with. The feeling was one of both excitement and tensity.

Beyond all the adrenaline, there were moments during my internship that felt almost surreal. Champagne in hand, I was able to talk to Iris after the show and celebrate the collection’s debut with my colleagues in  a beautiful Parisian garden where the show had taken place. I found Iris’s passion for  pushing the boundaries of fashion infectious and truly inspiring.

On reflection, my internship was a crash course in pushing the limits, and realizing what it  means to be part of creating something really extraordinary. After all, seeing the designs  you’ve worked on being worn by people like Natalie Portman, Naomi Campbell,  Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Julia Fox and many others is definitely something uniquely motivating  

While it was an incredible experience to peek behind the curtain of the couture world, and to be part of the hustle of Paris Fashion Week, it seems that the glamour can often overshadow the incredible pressure,  and the hard work that goes into making these shining moments. The internship was an eye-opener,  showing me the raw reality of the fashion industry— a mix of exhilarating highs and gruelling challenges. Yet, despite the stress, it was an unforgettable journey that shaped my understanding of the dedication and passion that fuels the fast-paced realm of fashion creativity.

Written by Nia Topalova, a GLITCH Magazine Contributor


Want to work with us?