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Iris van Herpen designed the first 3D printed wedding dress

Iris van Herpen designed the first 3D printed wedding dress


How many wedding dresses have a file size?

To our knowledge, only one, Brazilian tax specialist Mariana Pavani, paraded on May 11 in the high-tech creation of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, a pioneer of 3D printed clothing whose first design of this type dates from 2010, a creation rigid. evoking superimposed shells, was recently exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

In contrast, Pavani's wedding dress has a preternatural delicacy, the futuristic swarm of frost on the bodice and neck giving a solid appearance that belies its suppleness and durability.

“There are no seams. You couldn’t do that with a typical pattern,” said van Herpen, whose Amsterdam studio spent 600 hours making the design, preceded by lots of tinkering with ZBrush, a digital sculpting software.

“It was definitely a dream project for me, because 3D printed clothing is in museums and on runways, but to see it worn by someone on the most special day of their life, I think it's is really something else,” she said.

“I really wanted an unusual dress, something unique,” ​​Pavani recounted over Zoom from her home in São Paulo about a week before the ceremony. “From the beginning, I hoped the dress would incorporate 3D printing into its design.”

The 3D printed elements extend beyond the bodice of the dress.

Courtesy of Eukaweddings

The process began with a 3D scan of Pavani's body, required several in-person fittings of the hand-pleated base dress, and then a meticulous marriage of delicate fabric and 3D-printed elements, which were done in a workshop specialized in Paris.

The file size for the 3D design was 216.7 MB and it took 41 hours to print, according to van Herpen.

She noted that there were several tests for the 3D printed elements and for the complex pleats, the pattern of which had to match the design of the bodice. “So you have the sculptural elements, but also the fluidity, the movement. And it’s a dichotomy that I really love,” said the designer, who trained in dance before becoming a fashion designer.

Despite all the high-tech elements and experimentation, the end result triggered powerful human emotions.

“It was one of those moments where she started crying when she put the dress on, and it was so magical,” van Herpen said, sighing with joy and looking up at the sky.

“It was hard to hold back my tears,” Pavani confessed. “We had achieved everything I hoped for… The final design makes me feel powerful and feminine, a very unique and singular look.”

Pavani also praised van Herpen's “incredible team” for making him feel “welcome and part of the creative process.” There was also a lot of work to make the final design fit and feel perfect on my body. They took everything into account: the way the dress fit me, the way it moved and felt, and even the length of the veil in relation to the chapel we were getting married in.

Pavani said her fiancé, composer and art collector Roberto Toscano, introduced her to van Herpen's work, arranging tickets to his fall 2022 fashion show in Paris.

“I found it breathtaking: the movement of the dresses, the fluidity of the collection and Iris’s love of nature really spoke to me,” she recalls. “We immediately started talking to the team to see if a wedding dress could be created.”

Unveiling of the world's first 3D printed wedding dress by Iris Van Herpen.

Unveiling of the world's first 3D printed wedding dress by Iris van Herpen.

Georgina Abreu/WWD

Van Herpen described a strong bond with Pavani, who shares his love of nature, art and pushing boundaries.

“I wanted to bring femininity, but with an avant-garde touch, because she is someone who is not at all ordinary. She’s really not afraid to express herself,” the designer enthused about Pavani. “We both believe that fashion is an art form. And so she really dares to express herself and embody this femininity, but also with the influences of new technologies.

Van Herpen, who fuses traditional sewing techniques like pleating, draping and beading with high-tech elements like silicone molding and laser cutting, considers these two elements to be at the heart of the DNA of his brand.

She was dazzled by the capabilities of the Parisian printer, whom she discovered only a year ago. “The quality of the flexible material is so good,” she marvels of the nylon polymer known as PA 12. “She can sit in it, she can do pretty much anything without it become less flexible over time.

Misconceptions about 3D printing in fashion still abound, and many consider it technically out of bounds.

“It’s a very complicated process. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, I don’t think it’s much more difficult than some of the more traditional ways of working,” van Herpen said.

As for the lingering belief that 3D printed clothing is unwearable, “that's history, because with the materials and flexibility you have today, it's super comfortable.

“It’s exactly where I hoped it would be back then,” she said – “back then” was 2010 when she made her first 3D printed garment. She said it took scientists many years of innovation and “stress testing” to overcome the “limits to the sustainability of flexibility”.

Indeed, Pavani's dress does not require exceptional care or handling either. “Cleaning is like any precious wedding look: you can't put it in the washing machine, but for dry cleaning it's fine. And for storage, you can simply place it on the hanger. It’s so light,” van Herpen said.

According to van Herpen, 3D printing “creates a lot of freedom” when she designs, explaining that “the look you see on this bride is not something we could create any other way. Given the sculptural complexity of these files, we simply cannot do this by hand. You couldn't do this through any type of pattern making.

“I also like the fluidity and therefore also the softness, the cleanliness, it’s something that I really like,” she added. “I think a lot of people still feel a little scared about the process [of 3D-printing] because it's different, but it gives you a lot of freedom once you own it.

Unveiling of the world's first 3D printed wedding dress by Iris Van Herpen.

Unveiling of the world's first 3D printed wedding dress by Iris van Herpen.

Georgina Abreu/WWD

That said, “you have to keep your eyes open to what's happening in different parts of the world because 3D printing is truly global,” she said.

Since her wedding dress goes where no dress has gone before, Pavani said she would never expect everyone to love it as much as she does.

“As with all art, there will be different opinions on the dress. I accept that,” she said. “But for me, the 3D printed structure that attaches to the neck is highly symbolic. The shape of the neck element is reminiscent of the eyes of an owl, which in the Brazilian religion Candomblé is generally associated with wisdom. Spirituality and nature are areas that interest me deeply.

In fact, Pavani considers the dress a work of art that she plans to display in her apartment.

“Roberto and I are very proud to have asked Iris to design my wedding dress,” she said. “It's a masterpiece.”

Roberto Toscano and Mariana Pavani on their wedding day.

Courtesy of Euka Weddings




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