Earthrise – Behind the Scenes

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Domi Kiger, World Champion and ‘force majeur’, wowed the fashion and skydiving world, flying head-down in a stunning designer gown!

Video, skydiving section of Earthrise – full video at end of article
Domitille Kiger, flying in Iris van Herpen’s Earthrise gown
Video footage by Alex Aimard, Satori Factory

This was the finale in a beautiful video of ‘EarthRise’, fashion designer Iris van Herpen’s Autumn/Winter Haute Couture collection, presented at the Paris Fashion week. 

We were stoked Domi found time to tell Skydive Mag about the skydiving side of this beautiful project. I was fascinated at the logistics of jumping in such an amazingly impractical dress.

It started around 3 months ago when Domi was contacted through Instagram by the assistant of Iris van Herpen, a Dutch fashion designer, who wished to showcase a collection of dresses with movement, air, and spectacular scenery.

Domi explained, “She said Iris had a vision of one of her dresses being flown in freefly, was it possible and was I interested in helping out. I was like, OMG!! Yes! Absolutely! “   Iris had made several tandem jumps, and in her Winter/Fall collection 2021 took lot of inspiration from skydiving.

Domi Kiger wearing Iris van Herpen ‘Earthrise’, by Axel Jozeph

The Dress!

I was curious about the dress and how it could withstand head-down speeds, but Domi explained she had worked on the design and construction from the beginning.

“I reached out to the community because I had never jumped in a dress before, but I know some of my girlfriends have. I put a post on social media asking advice, and got a lot of replies. Roberta Mancino was the one who gave me the most information – insights, photos,  details explaining where to put the holes for the rig, she really helped me out.”

Having researched what she could, Domi wrote a very long email with a lot of detail on design, construction and – most of all – strength, the difficulty of stitching a dress that won’t blow apart in freefall. “I kept stressing to make it  stronger than they could possibly imagine. If you would normally do one reinforcing stitch, do ten.” She subsequently met Iris’s team at their atelier in Amsterdam, and went to City Skydive Wind tunnel in Utrecht, where they made a suit using lots of different fabrics to see how they held together in the tunnel, and how they looked in the wind. Most of them fell to pieces!

 “It was good for them to see with their own eyes what the wind can do. It’s not so easy to explain to someone who’s not part of our world how fabric behaves in the sky”.

Two months of collaboration between Domi and the designers refined the design. The next step was the prototype, which was over twice the length of a normal gown.

“Where my feet stopped there was still 2 metres of dress!!  It was quite cool.  It was a bit scary to fly in the tunnel, but I was not going to skydive with it. How it behaved when I went on my belly [making wild snaky motions with both hands] – no way!”

Many emails went back and forth till Domi made a test jump in the UK with the final prototype. “That was funny”, she explained., “as I planned to try the prototype with my wingsuit canopy, a Horizon 150, because I wasn’t sure how deployment would be with all the extra fabric … but because I was travelling I only had one rig with me..  so, I just jumped it with my Valkyrie 79. It opened great!”   

Eventually, the final dress was stitched, reinforced, and reinforced again, and Domi made four jumps with the full-on Iris Van Herpen gown in early June over Arcachon at Vertical t’air, flying with Alex Aimard to get the footage.


By this time the dress was ‘only’ extending past her feet by 20 cm. It was sewn to leggings at Domi’s knees, so it would not ride up and engulf her under canopy. Domi said flying head-down in the dress was relatively easy but going to belly for deployment was “kind of interesting’, with masses of extra fabric beyond her feet. She would extend her legs and fly slightly forward, then pitch the pilot chute, which went backwards as well as upwards, like in a wingsuit. All deployments were perfect – this time with her trusty Horizon 150!

Domi couldn’t jump in her Cookie, L&B or Dekunu because that would  go against Iris’s vision..  On most jumps, Alex was her cue for breakoff (and immediate opening on her side), but she did one jump with a 360 camera, all by herself. She felt  a bit nervous jumping for the first time without any kind of alti – “but of course it was fine, and I opened pretty much  exactly the same height as normal. I guess after 9,000 skydives you have that pretty dialed in !”. Landing was straightforward, as the dress blew out of the way behind her, the vital thing was not to trash the dress by stepping on it afterwards. Hidden under the voluminous skirt Domi wore practical trainers not crippling stilettos!

Iris Van Herpen

This is what the House of Iris Van Herpen had to say:

Through the extreme speed and Kiger’s choreography while skydiving, the custom Haute Couture gown reveals the turbulence of the intricate craftsmanship. The gown is handmade from thousands of blue spheres in colour gradients, embodying our ‘blue marble’ home. Fostering adventurous athleticism and fearlessness in this collection, the finale is paradoxically a meditative moment, depicting a single person floating in space, merging the elements of dance, exploration and the innovative mind through skydiving. The ultimate intricacy, softness and delicacy of Haute Couture are merged for the first time with the extreme sport of skydiving.”

The House of Iris Van Herpen

Satori Factory

Domi was really happy that they asked who she would like to work with as cameraflyer. She immediately suggested Alex Aimard, as they had flown many times together and she knew his creativity. That worked out incredibly well, not just for the flying, but also for his bringing of Uprising Production into the team. Thanks to Uprising, they were able to increase the budget and therefore the quality of the footage produced. “The Power of the skydiving community!” Domi commented.

The Smile

Watching the video, Domi’s beaming smile was in sharp contrast to the earlier models on the ground, all with haughty, almost sulky faces. To me this was perfect, it seemed that everything built up to this climax – in flying free the full beauty, serenity and joy were finally released. However, Domi explained – giggling – that she was supposed to fly with the same po-face but couldn’t stop smiling! 

“I was instructed to not smile, to contribute to the meditative, eerie, almost alien vibe of the video. I had no idea it was going to be so hard for me to do! On the first jump I simply completely forgot. Then after that, I would remember, but the smile would come back without me even noticing. On the last jump, I did good keeping a straight face for most of the jump. Then Alex and I went into a spontaneous modification of the line we were flying, as I was starting to feel more comfortable with the dress. That felt really good, and put the biggest grin on my face. I caught myself and went back to a straight face, and I could see Alex noticing the whole process and cracking up about it. We had a good laugh about it on the ground.”  The producers must have liked the joy in the images, despite the brief, as they chose some footage with the glorious smile.

Furthermore, as a result of this project, it looks likely Iris might be interested in learning how to fly on her own.  These two women from very different backgrounds hit it off straight away.  Probably Domi was the catalyst to inspire Iris from enjoying tandem jumps to becoming an independent skydiver.  Clearly, they motivated each other:

“What a privilege to work with such a fascinating artist and having those two worlds of fashion and skydiving collide! I have been deeply inspired by this collaboration, and by Iris as a person. And I’ll forever be grateful to her for the way she saw, and is now showing to the world, how a human body can fly.

“… And who would have ever thought I’d end up on Vogue,  WWD or the New York Times ?!

Domi Kiger wearing Iris van Herpen Earthrise, by Axel Jozeph

Undoubtedly this wonderful collaboration has taken our sport to millions worldwide. We can only guess at how many more people, especially women, will be inspired to skydive as a result.  There is a kind of irony here. Domi has worked with tremendous energy to help create Dynamic indoor competitions specifically to appeal to the public.  Reinventing our sport to make it exciting to watch. Then she worked (with others) to try to get it into the Olympics. It made the last eight but not the final cut. Then, this World Champion, Keynote Speaker, World Record Organiser and Indoor Skydiving Promoter reaches far more people globally by flying in a skirt! 😉

Please don’t take offence at my British humour. Actually, I believe Iris’s gown is far more than a garment. It is a mixing of art, sport, and science, finding a unique overlap between very different worlds. Thank you Iris, for this beautiful idea, for your passion, for showcasing our sport, and for your full commitment to Domi’s Earthrise gown. I have total respect that your team can make such an ethereal, floaty, fairylike dress that is tough enough for Domi to take it freeflying, Chapeau!

Images are screengrabs from Alex Aimard’s video footage, courtesy of Satori Factory

Full Earthrise video

Iris van Herpen

Let’s leave with some final words from the House of Iris van Herpen:

“Through Kiger’s graceful skydiving, she embodies a new meaning of earthly freedom, thwarting any fear with the spirit of transcendence. The ultimate intricacy, softness and delicacy of Haute Couture are merged for the first time with the extreme sport of skydiving. ‘For ‘Earthrise’ it has been my dare to push delicate three-dimensional craftsmanship into the intense spheres of 300 km an hour resilience ~ finding the ultimate corners of strength in the craftsmanship of Haute Couture.”

Iris van Herpen

Domitille Kiger

About Domi Kiger

Domi started skydiving when she was 15, and quickly fell in love with the sport. After a decade traveling the world as a skydiving coach, she is now based in Poitiers, France, where she opened a wind tunnel, zerOGravity, in 2020, with some partners.

In 2013 she joined the team badass female team JoyRiders. Domi is a mover-and-shaker and almost whatever she touches turns to gold because she throws her powerful energy, passion, knowledge, skills and energy into everything she takes on.

Today Domi wears many different hats, being involved in coaching, sports politics, keynote speaking and writing. She is a sky and tunnel freefly coach, a multiple world champion with 16 national/international medals. She has 8 world records to her name and been an organizer on five of those. She is an active member of the International Skydiving Commission on both the Indoor committee and Dynamic committee and organizes workshops to collate information from all sides of these areas.

Domi is sponsored by UPT, PD, Cookie, Boogieman, LB Altimeters, Vigil, LVN and Dekunu. More info here:

Iris van Herpen Earthrise collection 2021

About Iris Van Herpen

At the maison of Iris van Herpen, Haute Couture is a transformative force that transcends boundaries and unites multi-disciplinary technologies with intricate artisanal craftsmanship. The brand’s visionary creations merge pioneering techniques and luxurious materials, often evoking a sense of avant-garde wonder. Whether shaping a dress through electromagnetic weaving or sculpting one from 3D hand-cast transparent leather, the maison challenges traditional notions of the handmade to create ethereal garments that are radically future-facing and exquisitely feminine.


Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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