3D printed pieces hit Paris Fashion Week

Laser sintering creates dress's lace-like texture.

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Paris, France - Stratasys Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing, and Materialise, a Belgian-based pioneer in additive manufacturing software and solutions, unveiled 3D printing fashion collaborations on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week as part of Iris van Herpen's Haute Couture show 'VOLTAGE'.

Dutch designer van Herpen's 11-piece collection featured two 3D printed ensembles, including an elaborate skirt and cape created in collaboration with artist, architect, designer, and professor Neri Oxman from MIT's Media Lab and 3D printed by Stratasys. An intricate dress was also designed in collaboration with Austrian architect Julia Koerner, currently lecturer at UCLA Los Angeles and 3D printed by Materialise, marking the second piece created together with Koerner and the ninth with Materialise.

3D dress
Van Herpen, Koerner, and Materialise have continued testing the limits of 3D printing with this 3D printed dress (see photo), proving once again that normal rules don't apply when fashion and high technology combine.

For this latest collection, an experimental new material was put to use in the creation of a flexible, soft dress of stunning complexity. The piece's intricate lace-like texture was created with precision by lasers (in a process known as laser sintering) and would have been impossible to realize any other way.

Julia Koerner explains, "My collaboration with Materialise for the 3D printed dress for Iris van Herpen's Haute Couture Show 'Voltage' 2013 reveals a highly complex, parametrically generated, geometrical structure. The architectural structure aims to superimpose multiple layers of thin woven lines which animate the body in an organic way. Exploiting computational boundaries in combination with emergent technology, selective laser sintering of a new flexible material, lead to enticing and enigmatic effects within fashion design. New possibilities arise, such as eliminating seams and cuts, where they are usually placed in couture."

3D printed skirt and cape
The 3D printed skirt and cape were produced using Stratasys' Objet Connex multi-material 3D printing technology, which allows a variety of material properties to be printed in a single build, allowing both hard and soft materials to be incorporated within the design, crucial to the movement and texture of the piece.

"The ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a "second skin" for the body acting as armor-in-motion; in this way we were able to design not only the garment's form but also its motion," explains Oxman. "The incredible possibilities afforded by these new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture as "tech-couture," where delicate hand-made embroidery and needlework is replaced by code."

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