May 2, 2016 | By Tess

One of our favorite contemporary designers, Dutch-born Iris van Herpen, has made a name for herself in both the fashion and tech worlds by expertly combining handcrafting couture techniques with modern technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting. The first designer to have sent a 3D printed dress down the runway in 2010, van Herpen has consistently wowed us with her designs and has been gaining recognition in more mainstream fashion media outlets. Recently, in an interview with fashion magazine The Cut, Iris van Herpen explained some of her design philosophies as well as how she herself fits in to the fashion and tech worlds.

A pioneer of 3D printed high fashion garments, van Herpen has maintained that she sees herself as a part of the handcrafted tradition of couture, which implies hand-made, made-to-measure garments. Her approach, as she explains it, is particularly interesting as she sees technologies like 3D printing as a sort of extension of her hand, as a means to producing couture. She says, “Technology, for me, is just a tool. The laser cutter or the 3D printer—to me it’s equal to my hands or the hands of my team.”

Of course, if you are familiar with Iris van Herpen’s work, you might question this when thinking of her installation with Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie, in which actual robotic arms 3D knitted a dress onto her. Even these robots, however were based on traditional lacemaking techniques and the hands that made them initially, tying them back to the handcrafted practice.

Iris van Herpen, who studied fashion design at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts Arnhem, has explored many themes in her work: from crystalline forms, organic forms, biopiracy, magnetic reactions, to lucidity in her most recent collection, Lucid. Currently, she is working with a new material called dragon skin, a high performance silicone material used primarily to simulate skin for movie effects. The dragon skin dress, which requires close attention and can be easily ruined—van Herpen laments a nearly finished version of the dress which was ruined during the application of its last layer of silicon—is made up of thousands of wave-like pieces which were laser cut and molded from a 3D printer. The pieces were hand placed onto the dress, which was then lined with a layer of silk and cotton to make it more comfortable for the wearer. Even the dress’ mannequin had to be specially made from clay and coated in dragon skin to properly create the dress over it.

The dress, which took months to complete, will be exhibited alongside other innovative fashion pieces (some of them her own) at the upcoming Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit which will open May 5th at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The exhibition’s curator Andrew Bolton said of van Herpen, “She’s like the Marie Curie of fashion”.

The Dutch designer, who has collaborated with a number of scientists, architects, and tech experts to create her futuristic and innovative pieces, will no doubt continue her astonishing work, as she reportedly even has her eye on using a proto-invisibility material that is currently being patented by the U.S. military.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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yzorg wrote at 5/3/2016 11:32:15 AM:

theres always that one ugly dress. ;) i am shure its pretty nasty sticky to touch and smells like silicone putty facility. She should recoat that in Black and you have a go for the next Latex-convention. perfect H.R.Giger styled :)

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