Stephanie Benoit May 11, 2016

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has finally opened the doors to its latest exhibition: Manus x Machina, the Costume Institute’s new tour de force curated by Andrew Bolton. The exhibition explores the complex dichotomy between handmade haute couture and machine-made prêt-à-porter, and how the boundaries between the two are growing increasingly blurred. Several 3D printed dresses made in collaboration with Materialise have been featured as part of the exhibition’s exploration of technological innovation used in fashion. Let’s take a look at some of them in more detail!

2010 “Crystallization” collection by Iris van Herpen

Not only marking Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s first 3D printed creation, this dress also marks her first collaboration with Materialise, along with London-based architect Daniel Widrig. Inspired by the transformation of water into crystal, the entire collection explores the opposition between fluid and solid liquids.

Ensemble by Iris van Herpen with Daniel Widrig | Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ensemble by Iris van Herpen with Daniel Widrig | Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Skeleton dress by Iris van Herpen with Isaie Bloch | © Michel Zoeter

The Skeleton dress by Iris van Herpen with Isaie Bloch | © Michel Zoeter

2011 “Capriole” collection by Iris van Herpen

This time in collaboration with Belgian architect Isaïe Bloch, Iris van Herpen evokes the feeling one gets before and after a free-fall parachute jump with her “Capriole” collection. The Skeleton dress, so nicknamed for its resemblance to a skeleton, was inspired by the anatomy of various different animals and took an entire week to print.  

2012 “Hybrid Holism” collection by Iris van Herpen

For her “Hybrid Holism” collection in 2012, Iris van Herpen was inspired by Philip Beesley’s “Hylozoic Ground” project, which explores the idea that all matter is alive. Using Stereolithography to print the dress in honey-colored resin with Materialise, Iris van Herpen collaborated with Austrian architect Julia Koerner on the design, which is made up of complex parametrically generated geometrical structures.        

Dress by Iris van Herpen with Julia Koerner | © Michel Zoeter

Dress by Iris van Herpen with Julia Koerner | © Michel Zoeter

The Bahai dress by threeASFOUR with Bradley Rothenberg | © threeASFOUR & Randy Brook

The Bahai dress by threeASFOUR with Bradley Rothenberg | © threeASFOUR & Randy Brook

2013 “MER KA BA” collection by threeASFOUR

New York-based trio Gabi Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil form the fashion collective threeASFOUR, which creatively explores the intersection between fashion, sculpture and mysticism through their creations. The Bahai dress was 3D printed in collaboration with Bradley Rothenberg for the “MER KA BA” collection, which finds its inspiration in the sacred geometry and tile patterns found in religious buildings across the world.        

2016 “Interdimensional” collection by threeASFOUR

New York fashion trio threeASFOUR again turned to Materialise and Bradley Rothenberg to help realize one of the creations in their “Interdimensional” collection. The challenge with this dress was using the 3D printed surfaces as pattern pieces, just as if they were fabric being cut into pre-patterned sections of the dress, making it a perfect embodiment of the blend of handmade and machine-made throughout the exhibition.

Dress by threeASFOUR with Bradley Rothenberg | © Schohaja Staffler

Dress by threeASFOUR with Bradley Rothenberg | © Schohaja Staffler

If you want to see our 3D printed dresses in real life, be sure to visit the Manus x Machina exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (May 5 – August 14). Or take a look at our other fashion collaborations right here!