Vac forming used in fashion

(Images all sourced from:

Julien Palast

This series of work is a collaboration between shoe company Melissa and artist Julien Palast. Palast, for this particular series, uses vac-form to create backdrops and scenes to advertise shoes. Each particular background is co-ordinated to the shoe it is advertising, to compliment and best showcase each shoe.

The decision to use plastic backgrounds made by vac-forming is likely to have come about due to the fact that Melissa use a plastic type material to create their shoes. Each background is devoid of colour detail; instead they are all made of a single colour, and the only detail is the shape and texture of the objects being vac formed. By creating singularly coloured backgrounds the shoes stand out, and the colour detail within them in more obvious.

Using colour theory Palast has created complimentary and contrasting colour pairings that are aesthetically pleasing.

 Iris van Herpen

During Autumn Winter Fashion Week 2014 Dutch designer Iris van Herpen used vacuum forming in an almost completely new and unique way. Models were suspended in plastic sheets that were heated and vacuumed around them. The vacuum removed almost all of the air from the sheets, besides the air the models needed to breath which was provided in a small tube. This effect caused the models to seem suspended in mid air. The plastic itself created a web-like texture around the models, where the plastic had been heated and set.

iris-van-herpen-aw14-images_dezeen_5ss(Image source:

iris-van-herpen-aw14-images_dezeen_6Vacuum forming the human body is a definitely a challenge as the process usually involves heat and vacuums, two things humans don’t do well with – especially at once. However this exploration into the way vacuum forming can be used is really interesting and shows that by experimenting with new ways to use an existing medium, new and beautiful things can be created.

(Image source:

The clothes these vacuum formed models were made for was a line titled Biopiracy.

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The titled of the line and how it is presented is a commentary on whether or not we are the ‘sole proprietors’ of our bodies. By displaying the models in such a way it takes away their element of freedom to move and possibly even to be comfortable, and creates the idea that these models are not in charge of their bodies but are there to be looked at.

So, what am inspiration am I taking from these artists?

These two bodies of work both feature the human form used with vacuum forming. In Palast’s work I’m intrigued by the way the arms look as if they want to touch or grab the product but are unable to because of this plastic boundary. There is a similar element in van Herpen’s work as she places a boundary between the models and the outside world using the plastic. Both of these artists touch on the topic of boundaries which is something I’ve been exploring. I feel that I would like to explore using the human form in vacuum forming.

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