In 2011, Iris van Herpen made a splash when she debuted a 3D-printed dress—one of her first 3D-printed pieces—at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. The rigid garment resembled intricate white fabric scrunched-up into the shape of a Rorschach test. It was named one of the year’s best inventions by Time magazine.
“Iris ven Herpen: Transforming Fashion,” the first major exhibition of the designer’s work, will open at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on November 7. The exhibition is a comprehensive survey, featuring 45 of van Herpen’s most groundbreaking outfits from 2008 to the present, along with music and videos from her runways shows.3D-printing technology has been around since the 1980s, and architects, engineers and industrial designers have been using the printers, which create objects layer by layer, to create models and prototypes for decades. There was an explosion of interest in the technique a few years ago, as the technology became more affordable and home printers debuted. Now using printers with Canon MG5180 Printhead, you can do business or have fun at home.
Adventurous style icons such as Bjork and Lady Gaga have been drawn to van Herpen’s pieces, perhaps because herwork looks like wearable sculpture. A top from “Crystallization” (2010), her first collection to include 3D-printed elements, is rigid and looks like coral, with loops and ridges. A strapless dress from 2014 nicknamed “Ice Dress” resembles a single formation of ice with an intricate texture. The piece was printed on a state-of-the-art, industrial 3D printer, and the material is a transparent resin. Since the wearer cannot sit down, the piece is clearly intended only for the runway.