The focus was on the footwear last week when Iris van Herpen’s latest fashion collection hit the catwalks in Paris. However, I was also interested to learn, via 3D printing company Materialise, that Iris’ exploration with 3D printing in her work has gone in a new direction. That’s to say, the celebrated designer is looking at how 3D printing can be used to create what she calls a ‘hybrid dress.’
According to Materialise: “With this dress, [Iris van Herpen] has proved that 3D printing does not have to be a choice of ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to design. Instead, 3D Printing can serve as a beautiful and functional part of the whole, adding value to traditional craftsmanship.”
This is an important message for everyone — and every application — albeit embodied here in aspirational, high-end fashion. 3D printing is a wonderful enabling tool, it can solve problems that other tools can’t and it can create things that other techniques can’t. But it is not a one tech fits all. It is often most productive when used in combination with other tech.
Anyway, back to the dress ….
The hybrid dress was part of Ms van Herpen’s Wilderness collection, created by bringing together transparent stereolithography pieces with more hands-on craftsmanship, for an unworldly result. Fine, bone-like pieces were designed digitally on a computer before being optomized for 3D printing using Materialise’s Magics software. The parts were produced on Materialise’s proprietary, in house Mammoth Stereolithography machines using a clear liquid resin. The transparent pieces were then over-moulded in silicon by Iris van Herpen’s team, a process that demands great skill and which took weeks to complete.
Speaking about the latest collection, Sven Hermans, Account Manager for Materialise said: “For the first time we have worked with Iris van Herpen to produce a hybrid creation incorporating unique, transparent bone-like structures produced with Mammoth Stereolithography. Thanks to 3D printing the dresses are seamless and made to measure. It is exciting working with Iris van Herpen to bring her complex geometrical designs to life; 3D printing does what no other form of clothing manufacture can do when complex shapes need to be created quickly and as one piece.”
Iris’ work is indeed inspiring — the end results and the processes of creation — long may she push the boundaries.