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2 posts tagged "Shapeways"

EXCLUSIVE: Victoria’s Secret in 3-D

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Victoria's Secret Corset“This is a new way to make a garment that’s never been done before,” explained Shapeways industrial designer Duann Scott from the heart of the brand’s Long Island City factory. He’s talking about 3-D printing—the process by which a pulsed laser cuts through layers of heated powdered materials (such as nylon, powered plastic, sterling silver, gold, even sandstone) to create computer-calculated shapes and designs. Shapeways is one of a handful of companies bringing 3-D printing, a technology traditionally used by architects and engineers, to the public market. In the past, it has been used to create everything from hearing aids to museum interiors; Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen was one of the first to apply the process to wearable items. Now, Victoria’s Secret is introducing 3-D-printed designs—just in time for its big fashion show on November 13.

“It’s exciting that we get to use this—we’ve never done it,” related Victoria’s Secret collection design coordinator Sarah Sophia Lidz. “It’s the first time, and it will be perfect for this section, too. It’s called Snow Angels, and it’s really a nod to the iconic Victoria’s Secret theme, with beautiful white wings inspired by snowflakes, snowfall, frost, the northern lights—there’s a lot of Swarovski.”

The 3-D-printed item in question is a Swarovski Crystal-encrusted corset, modeled to look like a snowflake, encasing the model Lindsay Ellingson’s body. It was designed off a full-body scan to fit Ellingson exactly.

The making of Victoria's Secret's 3D corset

“We’ve seen some 3-D printing in fashion, in the haute couture in Europe. So it’s been very rigid things, very artful things, but nothing that’s been nice to wear,” added Scott. “This is the first piece for a mainstream brand—with a focus on the elegant, sensual form—not just rigid and stiff and alien-like. It’s wearable.” The corset debuts exclusively above.

As for what’s up next in the 3-D sphere, Scott offered, “We’re seeing an evolution in the materials that we can use in 3-D printing.” As more and more designers turn to 3-D printing, more and more pliable fabrics will be developed. “But the interesting thing about 3-D printing and design is, traditional fabric is either a stitch or a weave, and maybe a chain mail in there, but with 3-D printing, we can do all three of those simultaneously, in one garment, in one material,” added Scott. “So there are new ways to control the way the fabric falls and reacts to the body. There is lots of room for evolving the garment.”

Photos: Eli Schmidt

Dita in 3-D

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“I can get out of a lot of things, but this dress is not one of them,” said burlesque star Dita Von Teese of the gown she donned to last night’s party at the Ace Hotel. The dress in question was the first fully articulated 3-D printed garment, which was conceptualized by designer Michael Schmidt. And the party, which drew the likes of Debbie Harry, Bob Gruen, and Andrej Pejic, served to toast its unveiling. “I was interested in finding the middle ground between the world of mathematics and the world of ephemeral beauty,” Schmidt told Style.com. The L.A.-based designer, who has crafted looks for stars like Madonna, Cher, and Lady Gaga (the latter wore his glass-bubble costume on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2009), conceived Von Teese’s frock with Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio in mind.

With the help of computational designer and architect Francis Bitonti, Schmidt used 3-D software to realize his space-age gown (think cinched waist and steroidal shoulders). The dress began as a digital rendering, which was then engineered in powdered nylon by high-tech collaborator Shapeways. “As an architect, it’s all about dealing with facades, and this was just about making a curvy one,” mused Bitonti. The body-skimming dress featured an undulating mesh silhouette of three thousand articulated joints fashioned out of layered nylon powder. As if that weren’t complicated enough, it also boasted twelve thousand Swarovski black crystals, which were painstakingly placed by hand after printing. “It’s obviously very futuristic, but I tried to retain a level of old-world glamour that was befitting of Dita,” added Schmidt. Indeed, the Blade Runner-meets-Bettie Page ensemble was worthy of the millennial pinup. “It’s superlight,” Von Teese mused later that evening after slipping into a demure Roland Mouret shift. But was it comfortable? “The only uncomfortable part is that I needed to be very cautious about how I walked. I had to make sure my heels wouldn’t get stuck in the hem.” Even in the future, glamour’s got its obstacles.

Photo: Jeff Meltz