3D printers, rather similar to you in high school at the prom dance, have awkwardly been lurking around a while and perforated the web too short as for anyone to take great notice. Now, it finally seems that they’re here to stay. Mind you, I am not talking about futuristic food-replication machines such as in some sci-fi-flicks, or about the more mouth-watering (and real) chocolate 3D printing machines – although you might want to take a look at those on one of these grey afternoons – no, it’s fashion we’re talking about. Let’s start small, fashion and printing : digital printing, Mary Katrantzou; following me so far? Fashion and 3D printing : Iris van Herpen.
Yes, that is a name that ought to tell you something, and if it doesn’t right now, then listen up. Iris van Herpen is probably one of the first designers to ever introduce 3D printing into the world of fashion design and ultimately onto a model’s body. Her wearable artworks consist of intricate layers of digitally altered and printed segments. Much like a sculpture or a cocoon they wrap themselves around the body without aiming to restrict bodily movements. Instead Miss Van Herpen wants to enhance motions by adding unusual features to the model’s frame. Something not achievable with your standard fabric. The resulting garments are works strangely floating in between the spheres of Avant Garde and Haute Couture; if I am allowed a lucky guess, I’d say that probably Thierry Mugler has been the latest designer to bring a similar new wind to the catwalk.
Although, this is the beginning of the story of 3D design within fashion, we are, as indicated not at the end. Moving from Iris van Herpen’s credo : ‘Form follows Function’, to the newest 3D design that was just weeks ago unveiled, namely, a dress that can actually be fitted to the body and isn’t of any static structure whatsoever.
Designed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti, presented by Dita von Teese, boasting 17 different pieces and one crucial ingredients : 3000 joints. This dress is a revolution even within the 3D print industry, which by all standards is still in its baby shoes. The 3000 hand fitted joints ultimately achieved what Iris van Herpen don’t yet, namely that the ‘fabric’ fits to your body shape like any regular garment you can buy, at any regular department store. However, this is far from regular. Unless you’re currently home and printing off that great outfit idea you’ve just had. Didn’t think so. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t come. All we have to do now is wait patiently.