Iris Van Herpen’s fashion makes me think of The Hunger Games, and Rachel Delphia agrees. “It’s very futuristic; there’s a sinister undertone, absolutely,” says the Carnegie Museum of Art’s curator of decorative arts and design on the eve of the new exhibition Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion. “These garments have the potential to make us imagine alternate realities and futures. There’s a lot of interesting ways to get into the ideas and concepts of these clothes.”
But Delphia emphasizes that the exhibit, which opens Sat., Feb. 4, is about more than clothes: “She’s interested in the relationship between technology and the body, the natural and the man-made.”
One particular dress prompted the Hunger Games reference. Part of the collection titled Radiation Invasion, it’s a metallic gold sheath garnished with undulant tulle and gold-foil pleats. The wearer appears to be emanating rays, a comment on the modern world’s constant flow of transmitted data.
Van Herpen, who’s Dutch, is just 32 and already on her way to becoming an industry legend. After interning with Alexander McQueen, she debuted in Paris in 2011, and was among the first to send 3-D-printed dresses down the runway. She’s dressed celebs like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Bjork. Last year she was featured in Anna Wintour’s Metropolitan Museum of Art gala. The theme was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology.”
“That was a bunch of designers across the 20th century, and Iris had a half-dozen garments in that exhibition,” Delphia says. Transforming Fashion, van Herpen’s first solo show, and its national tour, were organized by the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta.
Accompanying the exhibition is an array of related events, among them a Feb. 4 drawing workshop led by Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Tereneh Mosley and architect Philip Beesley, a van Herpen collaborator. Beesley gives a separate talk earlier in the day.
Amani Newton 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through May. 1. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11.95-19.95. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org
Was it a Scottish physician who inspired a young Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes? Michael Sims makes the case in his new book Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes (Bloomsbury). Sims, a Pittsburgh-area resident, is the widely praised author of such nonfiction works as Adam’s Navel and The Story of Charlotte’s Web; Arthur and Sherlock has drawn praise from no less than the singularly Holmes-centric Baker Street Journal. Tonight, his book tour takes Sims to Sewickley’s Penguin Bookshop for a talk about the writing process titled “Making a Movie in Your Head.” Bill O’Driscoll 6 p.m. 417 Beaver St., Sewickley. Free. 412-741-3838 or www.penguinbookshop.com
Actress and Pittsburgh native Ann Talman was conceived after her 8-year-old brother, Woody, non-verbal and living with cerebral palsy, pointed at his parent’s mid-sections and ordered them to make him a sibling. Talman wrote her whimsical origins, and other tales from her life, into her new one-woman play Woody’s Order!. The world-premiere play, produced by Point Park University’s REP Professional Theatre Company, gets its first performance tonight, in the Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Studio Theatre. An American Sign Language performance will be held Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Amani Newton 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 19. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $10-29. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com
For the first time, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust runs twin exhibitions by a single artist in the 707 Penn and 709 Penn galleries. Both A Collision of the Second Self and Hidden in Plain Sight explore the disunion of the artist’s interior and exterior personas. Though the works are in part autobiographical, Pittsburgh-based Josh Mitchel addresses tensions that are universal and ubiquitous. His photo-realistic figurative paintings explore the psychological conflict of the ego and the id, coming together on canvasses like the visual version of literature’s magical realism. The shows open tonight. AN Opening reception: 5:30-10 p.m. Exhibits continue through April 9. 707 and 709 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412- 325-7017or www.trustarts.org
At the latest Unblurred, the big news on Penn Avenue’s arts corridor is the planned pending move of 10-year mainstay Most Wanted Fine Art to a new building up the hill. And indeed, this might be your last chance to catch MWFA on the gallery crawl in its current location, as it showcases works by Joshua Hogan and Kyle Ethan Fischer. But there’s plenty more to see at some 20 venues. Pittsburgh Glass Center, for instance, opens Emerge/Evolve 2016, a showcase for “rising and evolving talents in kiln-glass” organized by Portland, Ore.-based Bullseye Glass Company. Bunker Projects debuts Colorbound, a multi-media exhibit by Zhiwan Cheung. And the Irma Freeman Center holds a closing reception for Dreamworlds, with work depicting oneiric realms by Jen Cooney and Teresa Martuccio. BO Unblurred: 6-10 p.m. 4100-5400 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Friendship/Garfield. Free. www.pennavenue.org
Nearly 200 photographers from 16 countries applied for Silver Eye Center’s International Award and Keystone Award (the latter for Pennsylvania-based artists). Tonight, the winners’ shows open at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Galleries (Silver Eye’s exhibition space while its new headquarters is completed). Michigan-based Kris Sanford’s Through the Lens of Desire repurposes vintage family snapshots to create “an imaginary queer past.” And Pittsburgh-based Francis Crisafio offers HOLDUP in the HOOD, his series documenting a long-running after-school arts program in which kids in the Manchester neighborhood created self-portraits using recycled photos and images from current magazines. Tonight’s opening reception for Fellowship 17: Kris Sanford & Francis Crisafio begins with a talk by the artists. BO 7-9 p.m. 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland. Free. www.silvereyecenter.org
Violin superstar Midori returns to Heinz Hall for the first time since 2004 to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tonight and Sunday. The Japanese virtuoso, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11. This weekend she’ll dazzle the audience with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders and led by Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. AN 8 p.m. Also 2:30 p.m. Sun., Feb 5. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-94. 412-392-4900 or pittsburghsymphony.org
For several years in the 1990s, Nick Daniels’ DANA Movement Ensemble was a notable presence on local stages. Now Daniels is bringing DANA out of retirement, and its first steps include Take My Hand … I Am Here, a work in progress about the love and loss of one’s parents that’s performed tonight as part of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater’s KST Presents series. Choreographer Daniels and composer Tom Luketich mined inspirations including Butoh and contemporary dance. The show’s at the Alloy Studios. BO 8 p.m. 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. Admission is pay-what-makes-you-happy. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org
Perhaps Denzel Washington’s film version of Fences whetted your appetite for Josh: The Black Babe Ruth. Fences is August Wilson’s play about a fictional retired Negro Leagues baseball slugger whom racism barred from the majors; Michael A. Jones’ 2008 work portrays Josh Gibson, the legendary real-life Negro Leagues catcher who belted tape-measure homers but died of a stroke, at age 35 — 70 years ago, and just months before baseball’s color line was broken. Gibson grew up partly in Pittsburgh and played for the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords; in Josh, Gibson and his friend, famed pitcher Satchel Paige, sort out life and baseball. Jones, an actor and writer now based in New York, also grew up here. This Pittsburgh-premiere production, staged at the University of Pittsburgh’s Falk School, continues New Horizon Theater’s 25th-anniversary season. BO 8 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 12. 4060 Allequippa St., Oakland. $15-20. www.newhorizontheater.org
Each year, the African-American Read-In promotes literacy and diversity in literature with events around the country. Pittsburgh’s 28th annual read-in, presented by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh, takes place today at the Homewood branch. Pittsburgh Black Media Federation hosts volunteers who read aloud short passages from favorite works by African-American, Caribbean or African authors. Audience members can register at eventbrite.com; readers register in person today on a first-come, first-served basis. BO 1-4 p.m. 7101 Hamilton Ave., Homewood. Free. 412-731-3080 or www.carnegielibrary.org
U.K.-born author Peter Ho Davies built his reputation on works like his 2007 novel The Welsh Girl, and story collections like The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love. Now he’s getting raves for his second novel, The Fortunes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), composed of four linked stories centered on real historical figures in Chinese America, including Hollywood’s first Chinese movie star and a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans. Davies, who’s currently teaching at the University of Michigan, visits Alphabet City tonight for a free reading from The Fortunes, courtesy of City of Asylum’s International Fiction Series. BO 8 p.m. 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free. RSVP at www.alphabetcity.org.