Radhika Dhuru August 31, 2015

We often see examples of how 3D Printing enables amazing cross-disciplinary collaborations. Adding to that list, 3D Printing went over to the fashionable side at the Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week, when Austrian designer Marina Hoermanseder displayed a unique piece created in collaboration with architect Julia Koerner. Amid a strikingly vintage-meets-modern collection, Marina produced the most vintage-meets-modern piece of them all: a corset, re-imagined and re-invented. Here’s what happens when fashion and architecture meet 3D Printing.

A model wears a creation of fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder's Spring/Summer 2016 collection during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A model wears a creation of fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder's Spring/Summer 2016 collection during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Bringing Back the Vintage | In with the Old, In with the New

In keeping with the recurring motif of the collection, the 3D-printed corset vest evokes a garment with a long history – a corset – but gives it a spectacular 21st century twist. The carefully-crafted vest, glowing a delicate rose-gold color, manages to simultaneously suggest the strength and fortitude of chainmail as well as the elegant familiarity of a smock. Like the other pieces in the collection, the corset evokes Marina’s Austrian sartorial heritage through the elaborate look of a costume but in a paradoxically minimalist manner. The two-piece corset is held together by buckles fastened at the shoulders and sides, with the buckles accentuating the meeting of an old artisan style with a modern one. For Julia, approaching the project from an architectural perspective, the vest is a marriage of computational design and high fashion aesthetics, enabled by 3D Printing.

Shaping the Corset: The Making-of Process

Asked whether there were any difficulties that the team had to overcome, Julia replies succinctly, “Time and gigabytes.” That’ll be a familiar concern to those involved with 3D-modeling for fashion. Julia is no stranger to 3D-printed fashion, having previously collaborated on projects with Dutch designer Iris van Herpen for which Materialise provided software solutions and 3D Printing services. As an architect, Julia has explored Additive Manufacturing in different forms for over a decade, beginning with 3D-printed architectural prototypes. “During my many collaborations with Materialise, I experienced how important it is to work directly together with a project manager and technologist at the printing company,” says Julia. “My experience with Materialise has always been fantastic.” After the intensive 3D-modeling process, the corset was 3D-printed in two pieces, front and back, on a stereolithography machine at Materialise HQ. This 3D Printing technology uses a type of liquid resin, which Julia chose for its material properties, performance quality, durability and short printing time. Marina then crafted the buckles to fasten the two-piece corset at the shoulders and sides, and the piece was sent to Italy to be galvanized and finished with rose-gold paint.

Fashion Forward

A true 3D Printing enthusiast, Julia is motivated by exploring new materials and printing processes and by experimenting with changes in a material’s properties over time using even the same printing technology. She notes that the future for 3D Printing in fashion looks very promising, and if Materialise’s recent fashion collaborations are any indication, we’re strongly inclined to agree.

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