3D Printing & Fashion at the Met 2019
Utilising 3D printing within the fashion world is not new. Chanel used it for their fall collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2015 and Iris Van Herpen wowed their audience with their ‘Crystallization’ spring range in 2011 at Amsterdam Fashion Week. However, this is the first time that 3D printing has taken global centre stage at the world’s most famous and talked about evening in the fashion calendar, the Met Gala, which takes place at Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.
With both designers and celebrities clamoring to attend and exhibit at this event, it can be difficult to stand out when every year, designer creations get bigger and bolder, whilst loosely fitting to the year’s brief. It is the one event of the year where designers can be outrageously creative.
One of this year’s stand out collections was from well-known fashion designer Zac Possen, who created a collection for the Met, in collaboration with GE Additive and Protolabs. Exploring material palettes that would be otherwise unavailable, the 3D printing process allows for bespoke fitting sculpture that would otherwise be near impossible to achieve. Two of the mostly complicated pieces were worn by British model Jordan Dunn and Canadian actress Nina Dobrev.
The custom fit red rose dress worn by Jordan consisted of 21 individually printed plastic petals with a printed titanium bodice for attachment. The dress took over 1,100 hours to create, with the petals being roughly 20x20inches and weighing 1lb each.
Nina’s dress was perhaps the most breathtaking as a crystal-clear creation, recreating a draped fabric effect. Printed in 4 pieces, the actress was 3D scanned to create the tailor fit. The dress itself was printed using stereolithography (SLA) and hand finished with wet sanding and a clear coat spray to achieve the glassy finish. With over 200 hours of printing, the dress was worn with a traditional fabric dress underneath to complement the aesthetic.
Zac Possen is well known for innovation and pushing the boundaries within fashion, he main aim with the collection which is also seen throughout his work is to evoke emotion. With advancements in manufacturing allowing for truly organic forms to be made on a small scale, there is greater opportunity to be creative not only in product but across the design industry.