When models have to act it can often make for something of an awkward experience, and while the Iris Van Herpen presentation at Silencio – which had models writhing and rubbing themselves against one another – was well executed, there were still a certain element of suburban alternative performance group about it. Tilda Swinton, who loves that kind of stuff, sat in a corner and nodded approvingly at Saskia de Brauw while the model eagerly (but with no trace of irony) chafed her high gloss corset dress to provoke the 'touch sensitive and sensual audio waves threading and weaving over the body creating an intricate sonic web', as the show notes explained. Or, in the words of a guest at the crowded, night clubby presentation, 'I think you can play music on that dress.'
Van Herpen’s first ready-to-wear show, the collection was impressive in its willingness to add a technological depth to the clothes, but in terms of giving the customer a viable and accessible alternative to the haute couture for which the designer is known, the collection wasn’t exactly profuse with daytime options. Van Herpen aesthetic is, however, so darkly beautiful and the sinister sleekness that defined the collection’s long black dresses in shiny, water-like materials and embossed leather were a welcome change from the floral prints and quaint appliqué, which have hijacked the Spring/Summer 2014 season.