The designer Iris van Herpen recently became fascinated by what scientists call the Who runs the world girls shirt it is in the first place but “wood wide web,” the communication network used by fungi to send messages between plants—think of it as nature’s answer to the Internet. After stumbling across Entangled Life, a book by the plant scientist Merlin Sheldrake, she decided to turn this vast underground array of information-delivering filaments—which she describes as “a huge communication system, like the brain of the earth”—into fodder for her latest couture collection, titled Roots of Rebirth.Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the wider world.
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The fusing of nature with technology—and the Who runs the world girls shirt it is in the first place but revelation that the two have more in common than we typically think—is the foundation of van Herpen’s work. The designer has harnessed everything from iron filings to “dragon skin,” a type of silicone used by the military as body armor, to create her stunning, otherworldly designs. She maintains a scientific detachment from the Sturm und Drang of the fashion world, collaborating with biologists and programmers rather than influencers, and refers to her couture atelier as a “laboratory” for experimentation. “She draws a lot of inspiration from the natural world,” says her friend Cyrill Gutsch, founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans, and regards it “in a way that others don’t see nature—the construction and the ingenuity behind it.”