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Monday, February 4, 2013

3D-printed garments draw headlines at Paris Fashion Week

Last month, two 3D-printed outfits made headlines at Paris Fashion Week, held January 21-24, 2013 at the Carrousel du Louvre (an architecturally spectacular shopping mall) and other glittery venues in Paris, France. The latest installment of this ritzy, invitation-only, semi-annual fashion trade show included a 3D-printed skirt-and-cape ensemble and an elaborate 3D-printed dress.  Both outfits formed part of the haute couture collection of Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, whom fashion bloggers generally credit as being the first couturier of digitally constructed fashions.

Actually, 3D-printed fashions were also part of Ms. van Herpen’s 2011 collections, but the ever-more-extreme exploits of 3D printing seem to have attracted much greater attention to her 3D-printed garments this year.

She is also known for her avant garde clothing designs for Iceland-born singer-songwriteBjörk.

Update on 14 March 2013:

Recently at a showcase of 3D-printed products hosted by digital printing marketplace Shapeways, American celebrity Dita Von Teese modeled a 3D-printed little black number designed by Michael Schmidt and generated by architect Francis Bitonti.  Because the fabric of the dress was perforated like netting, Ms. Von Teese wore a flesh-coloured leotard underneath.  She also wore a net veil covering her forehead, the perfect accessory to compliment the gown.  Designer Michael Schmidt expressed enthusiasm about having taken a hard plastic material and “making it flow and sexy and undulate around the body.”

Although the dress was intended as a museum piece, the growing trend in collaboration between 3D printing and haute couture is apt to produce more mainstream applications at some point down the road, along with new opportunities for printers.

I am indebted to my LinkedIn contact Deborah Corn of for bringing this news item to my attention.