This year’s Met Gala saw four gowns designed by fashion designer Iris van Herpen displayed on the red carpet, each featuring elements of 3D printing techniques.
The designs were worn by singer and actress Dove Cameron, singer-songwriter Teyana Taylor, model and activist Winnie Harlow, and Sweden’s ‘most stylish persona’ Fredrik Robertsson.
Van Herpen has also announced she will be auctioning off two custom gowns produced for last year’s Met Gala later this month, with all proceeds going towards the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest.
A fashion 3D printing pioneer
For more than a decade, Van Herpen has been at the forefront of integrating 3D printing and digital manufacturing techniques into haute couture fashion design. The Dutch designer has an extensive body of work that incorporates the use of 3D printing and other technologies, having first designed her “Crystallization” 3D printed top back in 2010.
Since then, she has designed and produced 3D printed fashion pieces for famous celebrities such as Bjork, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga. Working with the likes of Stratasys and Materialise, van Herpen’s 3D printed designs have also featured on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week in recent years, including a gown sown onto Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie in real-time, and a “Magnetic Motion” collection inspired by the Large Hadron Collider.
Embedded within a number of van Herpen’s designs is a “Foliage” fabrication technique developed in partnership with TU Delft, which allows her to 3D print delicate leaf patterns directly onto a fine, semi-transparent fabric. In 2019, she debuted her 3D printed “Cellchemy” face jewelry at the Musee des Beaux-Arts which she also designed alongside the university.
For last year’s Met Gala, van Herpen custom-designed a striking gown for Grimes, a Canadian musician and partner of billionaire business magnate Elon Musk, inspired by the recently released film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s American novel, Dune. The “Bene Gesserit” gown is one of those van Herpen is planning to auction off later this month, and features hand-cast lightning bolt shapes arranged in a 3D laser-cut pattern.
Van Herpen on show at the 2022 Met Gala
For this year’s Met Gala, van Herpen was joined on the red carpet by Cameron, Taylor, Harlow, and Robertsson who each wore her 3D designs.
Cameron’s custom “Spiral Nebula” gown took inspiration from this year’s theme of “the gilded age” and its ideals of pushing boundaries and embracing innovation. The gown transformed textured embroidery of the 19th century into fine yarns that were embroidered by hand outwards from the tips of the sleeves and hem. Layers of white fabric were bonded with recycled mylar and then 3D laser cut and stitched onto a template. The artwork was then integrated into the pattern of the dress, with the garment taking a total of 600 hours and 10 people to complete.
Harlow’s “Transmotion” dress was complemented by her “Mind in Motion” crown, which van Herpen created in partnership with kinetic artist Casey Curran, while Taylor’s “Mythosphere” gown was brought to life by a striking face jewelry piece.
Meanwhile, Robertsson made his debut at the Gala wearing his bold “Quantum” jumpsuit, which caught the attention of the cameras thanks to its feathery embellishments. Making a sustainability statement, the jumpsuit is made from upcycled fabric that was digitally printed and then heat bonded to recycled mylar. The panels were then 3D laser cut into springing “feathers” stitched into the main garment. In total, the jumpsuit was crafted by 12 people over the course of 750 hours.
Going to auction
In addition to her Met Gala appearance this year, Van Herpen has also announced she will auction off two of her gown designs later this month, 25th May, via Bonhams. Both dresses were showcased at last year’s Met Gala, the “Bene Gesserit” gown worn by Grimes and the “Aeternus” gown worn by actress Gabriele Union.
Each lot will include the dress and its original sketches signed by van Herpen, and tickets for the upcoming Haute Couture fashion show in Paris. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Amazon Conservation Association and the Rainforest Trust Foundation.
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Featured image shows Dove Cameron wearing her custom ‘Spiral Nebula’ gown at the Met Gala 2022. Photo via Iris van Herpen.