Iris van Herpen and Materialise in the Wired Pop-Up Store 2012

3 min read

Models on a runway wearing 3D-printed designs

Iris van Herpen has used 3D Printing to push the boundaries of Haute Couture, picking up countless accolades. WIRED lets shoppers see one of her innovative dresses up close in their NYC Pop-Up Store.

Model on the runway wearing a 3D-printed dress

With her immense creativity and talent, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen is pushing the boundaries of Haute Couture with great success. Since starting her own label in 2007, Iris has picked up a string of awards, has been elected as guest-member by Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, has seen her clothing worn by trend-setting celebrities such as Björk and Lady Gaga, and has had her 3D printed dresses named as one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011 by TIME Magazine.

Working together with artists and architects who inspire her, and with the 3D Printing experts at Materialise, her collections combine traditional hand-sewing techniques and 3D Printing with spectacular results. This holiday season, one of her most recognizable pieces - the Escapism Dress - is being featured in the Wired Pop-Up Store in New York City: a shop that offers a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience that takes holiday gifting to the next level.

3D Printing the Escapism Dress

The Escapism Dress that is on display in the Wired Pop-Up store was created using a 3D Printing technology known as Laser Sintering. This is a technique by which parts are built layer by layer with a fine nylon powder. Successive powder layers are spread on top of each other and, after each layer, a laser beam scans the surface and binds together (sinters) the powder involved in the design. The remaining powder is easily dusted or air-brushed away when the design is removed from the machine. This technology is used to create a wide variety of products; from lamps, to jewelry, to many of Iris van Herpen’s dresses. This process allows designers to create shapes that would be impossible any other way.

Iris van Herpen and Materialise

Iris van Herpen’s collaboration with Materialise began in 2010 with the Crystallization Collection, done with the support of architect Daniel Widrig and unveiled during Amsterdam International Fashion Week. This was followed by four pieces in 2011’s Escapism Collection, a collection again done with Widrig, which debuted to critical acclaim during Paris Fashion Week- Haute Couture. A final piece for 2011 played a central role in an exhibition entitled The New Craft: Iris van Herpen and her Inspiration at the Central museum Utrecht as well as taking to the runway in Paris with the Capriole collection. Known as the Skeleton Dress, this piece was done in collaboration with architect Isaïe Bloch.

In January 2012, Iris van Herpen revealed her second collection as a guest member of the very exclusive haute couture club - Micro Haute Couture – working again with Bloch. This time, she brought her printed design one step further by having it metal plated for a gorgeous bronze finish. Later in the year, she worked with architect Julia Koerner for her Autumn/Winter 2012/2013 collection – Hybrid Holism – in which she explored mammoth stereolithography (a 3D Printing process involving a very large printer and a liquid resin) for the first time. The result was a 3D Printed dress which one awestruck spectator compared to “liquid honey.” With 2013 fast approaching, it won’t be long until Iris van Herpen challenges Materialise to once more put their 3D printers to work in the creation of an awe-inspiring masterpiece, blending creativity and technology in ways never before seen.

Model on the runway wearing a 3D-printed dress
Full-body view of a model wearing a 3D-printed dress

For more information about Iris van Herpen and those she works with, visit the following websites:

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This case study in a few words


Art and design

Solutions used

3D printing

Why this approach

Incorporate organic designs

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