Hans Jenny coined the term cymatics in a book in 1967: this word means "matters pertaining to waves". Cymatic patterns are indeed pictures of sound: the higher the frequency, the more complex the figures, with shapes going from geometrical designs to abstract motifs.
Jenny's work was based on Ernst Chladni's 1787 studies that, following the work of Robert Hooke from 1680, attempted to replicate the patterns created by sand placed on metal plates and vibrated with a violin bow.
Jenny produced demonstrations of the forms created when sound interacted with physical matter, showing that even seemingly geometric patterns are made of particles moving within those patterns.
Besides, he discovered that, when they were pronounced, the vowels of ancient Hebrew and Sanskrit took the shape of the written symbols for these vowels, concluding that the generative power of reality is made up of three fields – vibration, form and motion. Combined together, these three fields form the physical world; in a nutshell what seems solid is a wave composed of quantum particles in movement.
At the moment there are a few modern cymatic researchers continuing the work of Jenny, at times with advanced instruments such as the CymaScope. Jenny's theories attracted throughout the time people interested in sacred geometry, mandalas, metaphysics, sound healing and even crop circles, but Jenny could have never guessed that his studies may have inspired a fashion collection. Iris Van Herpen turned indeed to cymatics in her Autumn/Winter 2016 Haute Couture designs.
The fashion designer invited Japanese musician Kazuya Nagaya to create a Zen soundscape employing bowls arranged in a circular formation for her presentation that took place yesterday at the Eglise Réformée de l'Oratoire du Louvre in Paris.
Van Herpen didn't actually use any specific or commissioned compositions for the swirling motifs of her dresses, but employed known patterns for them.
People familiar with Van Herpen's designs will therefore be able to spot her trademark shapes and silhouettes in some of the pieces, but there were new ones as well, such as visually striking gowns covered in silicone-coated hand-blown glass bubbles or silicone-coated Swarovski water drop crystals.
The bubble gown, a mini-dress covered in organza cell-like formations and a dress with a skirt that developed into a tensile structure actually betrayed an architectural derivation evoking the principles of Frei Otto's non rigid tensile structures and his experiments with stacked soap bubbles.
There was also a very intriguing experiment: in some of her designs Van Herpen employed Japanese organza woven from extremely thin polymer threads (according to a press release five times thinner than a human hair).
One pleated dress also featured an optical illusion revealed only when the model moved around and followed the music created in the background: the intricate lines printed on the dress weren't round, but straight, and when the fabric was pleated the lines ended up creating intricate rippled motifs.
The collection was entitled "Seijaku" that means in Japanese finding serenity, calm and wisdom in the midst of activity and of everyday hustle and bustle.
Sounds like a wonderful wish for anybody working in the fashion industry - finding peace and imperturbable serenity while being caught in a busy life.
Van Herpen may have found a way to do it by combining architecture, science and technology, while bridging the gap between artisanal techniques and advanced manufacturing processes, a modus operandi that has so far allowed her to produce unique designs like the ones on display at the "Manus X Machina" exhibition currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
One mystery remains unsolved about this collection: Jenny discovered that the sound of vowels of ancient Hebrew and Sanskrit generated the shapes of the written symbols for these vowels, could Van Herpen's swirling silhouettes be retranslated into sounds and in case what kind of vowels or words could they generate?
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos