On May 6, 2019 New York City’s Met Museum hosted its annual Met Gala. An A-Z of fashion and fame, celebrities including Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Jared Leto, Harry Styles and Anna Wintour graced the red carpet, sporting ostentatious designs on this year’s theme of “Camp.” One attendee however was something that few others might’ve expected. With the help of GE Additive and Protolabs American fashion designer Zac Posen brought 3D printing to the party.
Several outfits, worn by the likes of 2012 Spiderman Andrew Garfield, British model Jourdan Dunn, and Indian film actor Deepika Padukone featured the technology. One standout piece was Canadian actor Nina Dobrev’s entirely 3D printed bustier dress, inspired by the look of Cinderella’s glass slipper.
In an interview with Glamour magazine Posen said, “I’ve always wanted to work with 3D printing to push the boundaries of art and fashion.”
The fashion of 3D printing
Thanks to pioneering designers like Iris Van Herpen, 3D printing is no stranger to fashion. In fact the technology, due to its flexibility, has become a focus and inspiration for many emerging designers including Mingjing Lin and House of Anesi founder Stephania Stefanakou. The technology is also a regular of many film set costume departments, most notably of late helping in the fabrication of the Academy award winning mantel and crown worn by Queen Ramonda in Marvel’s Black Panther.
In many ways though, Posen’s statement Met Gala pieces are like nothing the 3D printing industry has seen before. Each one takes advantage of the technology’s ability to create entirely entirely unique, and even form-fitting shapes, with incredibly high geometric complexity.
Zac Posen’s 3D printed collection
One of the pieces make its Met Gala debut on Monday was Posen’s rose gown. As worn by Dunn (above), this dress is composed of 21 individual petals, 3D printed in Accura Xtreme White on 3D Systems’ SLA machines at Protolabs. Each petal, weighing in on average 1 lb. each, is also fastened by custom metal cage 3D printed on a GE Additive Arcam EBM machine.
Three sets of the petals in total were used to make the dress, each one taking 100 hours to print.
A second piece from Posen’s collection is the “glass slipper” bustier dress worn by Dobrev. This dress took the Protolabs team over 200 hours to complete, including its 3D printing and finishing by sanding and clear coating.
3D printed accessories were also worn by Posen’s models. A palm leaf collar accessory worn by actor Katie Holmes took 56 hours to print and finish using pearlescent purple paint. Fellow actor Julia Garner’s headpiece was 3D printed as a single piece using HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology, and Padukone’s dress featured 408 3D printed and embroidered floral embellishments.
For Garfield and art dealer Vito Schnabel, Posen designed custom 3D printed cufflinks to go with their tailored suits. Both pairs are made using Protolabs’ custom-made MicroFine Green resin, then painted to give red and gold color changing effects.
All of Posen’s garments were made under his fashion brand House of Z. The majority were made at Protolabs facilities in Raleigh, North Carolina, with Dobrev’s bustier dress 3D printed at Protolabs in Germany, and the metal frame of Dunn’s rose gown made at the GE Additive Technology Center in Cincinnati.
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Featured image shows from left to right: Jamie Foxx, Andrew Garfield, Jourdan Dunn, Julia Garner, Nina Dobrev, Vito Schnabel, Gia Coppola, Katie Holmes and Zac Posen attend The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City, sporting Posen’s 3D printed fashions. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images