Major collaboration between Iris van Herpen and Dutch National Ballet

Dutch National Ballet has built up a good reputation in collaborating with fashion brands and fashion designers, such as Victor&Rolf and recently G-Star. In the short film Biomimicry we are now exploring with Iris van Herpen the symbiotic relationship between the metamorphic force in which fashion and dance interlace . The film sees the mesmeric dancer JingJing Mao undulating into liquescent shapes and transcending into graceful figures that reflect her myriad of movements.

Man and nature

Known for merging technology with delicate Haute Couture craftsmanship, the designer merges 3D work with pliseé-ed fabric in the creation of the short translucent and white organza dress. The technicolour and blue gown unfold voluminously into rich spheroid silhouettes that are influenced by three-dimensionally and the female body.

The concept of the creation stems from the notion of biomimicry — the design and production of materials and systems that are modelled on biological processes. In line with Iris van Herpen’s continuous pursuit to materialise the invisible forces that structure the world, the film focusses on the bond between humanity and nature while showcasing the intersection of both with infinite expansion and contraction.

Oscillating between blur and clarity, JingJing Mao amalgamates with the desert backdrop. The dancer — symbolising strength and determination — finds herself in a future in which mankind, science and nature are closely interwoven. This is also mirrored within the music, composed by Thijs de Vlieger and Lavinia Meijer. Deeply rooted in dichotomies, the music encompasses subjects such as machines and nature as well as soul and control, searching for unfamiliar synthesis in familiar organisms.

Coalescing fashion and dance
This synergic collaboration comes as a natural evolution of Iris van Herpen’s multidisciplinary approach to the art of fashion and matches seamlessly with Dutch National Ballet’s practice of co-creating with leading visual artists, photographers and designers. The brands pioneering vision of coalescing fashion and dance comes to life through JingJing Mao who is guided by Movement Director Juanjo Arqués, a gifted creative associate with Dutch National Ballet. Arqués made intuitive use of the surrounding eclectic elements to explore the direction Iris van Herpen’s designs take him.

© Valentine Bouquet
© Valentine Bouquet
© Valentine Bouquet



Director Ryan McDaniels
Movement Director Juanjo Arqués
Dancer JingJing Mao
Music Thijs de Vlieger | Lavinia Meijer

Photography Valentine Bouqet



Fashion designer
Iris van Herpen is a Dutch fashion designer that perceives Haute Couture as a transformative language, an interdisciplinary entity that emerges from the space in which innovation and craftsmanship interlace. The symbiotic relationships found in nature’s intricate web, the invisible forces that structure architectural patterns, and the mercurial dance in which the body and mind intersect are influences that shape the visionary creative process.The Iris van Herpen maison was founded in 2007 and showcases its collections bi-annually at Paris Haute Couture Week as a member of the Fédération de la Haute Couture. The brand stands for slow fashion with a multi-disciplinary approach towards collaborations with artists, architects and scientists. Each collection is a quest to venture beyond today's definition of a garment, exploring new forms of femininity for a more meaningful, diverse and conscious fashion for the future.


Juanjo Arqués

Choreographer and Young Creative Associate Dutch National Ballet
Juanjo Arqués, a former second soloist with Dutch National Ballet, mixes the language of modern dance with influences from new media, mythologies, literature, architecture and sculptural forms. Since 2012 he has choreographed up to ten works for Dutch National Ballet and the Junior Company of Dutch National Ballet. Arqués has been appointed as Young Creative Associate with Dutch National Ballet since January 2017. Arqués has worked with companies worldwide and has been named 'Promising Talent Of Year 2017' by Tanz Magazine for his work Homo Ludens for Dutch National Ballet. In 2016 he received two Golden Mask nominations in Moscow for best choreography and best choreographer for his work Minos. For Ignite (2019) he was nominated for the prestigious Benois de la Danse Prize, also known as 'the Oscar of dance'. In 2020 Dutch National Ballet will dance his new choreography MANOEUVRE in the programme Back to Ballet - contemporary. Read the full biography here.




Jingjing Mao

Grand sujet Dutch National Ballet
Jingjing Mao was born in the South of China. When she was nine years old, she left her parents’ home to study at the dance academy in Beijing. In 2010 she performed with her school at a ballet gala in Monaco. That gala was attended by Ted Brandsen, artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet, who invited her to Amsterdam afterwards. Although Jingjing hardly spoke a word of English at the time, she came to the Netherlands, where she joined Dutch National Ballet in the rank of adspirant. In 2011 she was promoted to élève and in the following years successively to member of the corps de ballet, coryphée and in 2017 to grand sujet. In recent years she has danced several solo roles.

Jingjing also won important prizes, including a third prize at the International Ballet Invitational (2008), an ‘Excellence Award’ of the Youth America Grand Prix (2009) and the first prize at the Tao Li Bei Dance Competition (2009).



Ryan McDaniels

Ryan McDaniels is a self-taught film maker and director based in Amsterdam and often found in New York. He is skilled in cinematography, editing, colour grading, compositing and graphics/animation. With limitless curiosity; Ryan brings an encyclopedic knowledge of all matters visual to the table. He has collaborated with brands such as Iris van Herpen, Swarovski, and Heineken and worked with Gal Gadot, Anne Hathaway, Hailey Bieber and Lauryn Hill among others.