The Infinity Dress and Omniverse Sculpture

Inside the 'Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser' exhibition, a voluminous kinetic 'halo' hovers around a magical feathered dress, reflecting ideas of transformation, gravity and materiality.

Follow our Conservation specialists as they display the incredible moving 'Omniverse' sculpture alongside the fragile feather 'Infinity' dress in the exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser:

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The 'Infinity' dress is a collaborative work designed by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen and American sculptor Anthony Howe. Howe designed the spherical 'Omniverse' sculpture, which Iris van Herpen collaborated on as a central feature in her Hypnosis collection runway show in 2019.

Iris van Herpen works collaboratively with artists, designers and engineers to combine artistic and scientific imaginations. Howe creates dynamic kinetic sculptures from metalwork and computer-aided design. Displayed together, the dress and gently rotating sculpture create a visual illusion, resembling a hypnotic portal to another world, or Wonderland.

Playing with concepts of space, time and scale reminiscent of the Alice books, the dress was inspired partly by Van Herpen's visits to CERN, a research centre where physicists look at the origins of matter and explore the big questions of our universe, as well as by the harmony of Howe's three dimensional wind sculptures, which intertwine nature with ideas of infinite contraction and expansion.

The dress was originally designed to be worn on the catwalk by a model who walked through the 'Omniverse' sculpture as a portal for the collection, creating a state of hypnosis for the audience. This is the first time the dress and sculpture have been shown together in a museum.

Header image:

'Infinity' dress and 'Omniverse' sculpture, 2019. Courtesy of Iris van Herpen and Anthony Howe. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London