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Zac Posen showcases 3D printed couture at Met Gala

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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American fashion designer Zac Posen dressed celebrities Katie Holmes, Jourdan Dunn, Nina Dobrev, Gia Coppola and Deepika Padukone in sculptural 3D printed gowns and accessories to celebrate the 2019 Met Gala.

Posen and his creative team, explained in a statement that they had a vision inspired by the concept of freezing natural objects in motion, and they worked in collaboration with GE Additive and Protolabs for the past six months on the breathtaking designs, which they describe as “pushing the boundaries” of previously seen 3D printed garments.

“I dreamt the collection, GE Additive helped engineer it and Protolabs printed it,” explained Zac Posen in a statement.

Posen designed four gowns and a headdress featuring 3D printed elements and structures as worn by British supermodel Jourdan Dunn, actresses Nina Dobrev, Katie Holmes, Julia Garner and Bollywood icon, Deepika Padukone, which the designer states was a continuation of his vision to incorporate “cutting-edge technology and innovation" in his sophisticated and glamorous style.

Dunn’s custom Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs rose gown featured 21 unique petals, averaging 20 inches and weighing a pound each. The petals, which were printed in sets of three, with each petal taking around 100 hours to print, are made of Accura Xtreme White 200 durable plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The rose petals were then finished with primer and colour shifting automotive paint and fastened in place by a modular cage.

The dress was designed to be a 3D re-creation of Dunn’s body and required the British model to have her entire body mapped, while the printing and finishing of the rose gown took over 1,100 hours and was printed at Protolabs’ 3D printing facility in North Carolina, one of the largest in the world.

Zac Posen partners with GE Additive and Protolabs to unveil 3D printing collaboration at the Met Gala

Actress Dobrev’s bustier is a clear printed custom Zac Posen dress and required more than 200 hours of work, as it is a 4-piece assembly for custom fit and needed to be sanded and sprayed with a clear coat to give it a glass appearance. While Holmes’ pearlescent purple palm leaves that were seen draped over the shoulders and attached to the gown at the neckline took over 56 hours and was made of Accura 60 plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine.

Garner wore an intricate printed vine headpiece with leaf and berry embellishments that was printed as a single piece and made of Nylon 12 plastic and printed on a Multi Jet Fusion machine. The printing and finish of the headdress took over 22 hours and was coordinated to be worn with her custom Zac Posen ombré silver to gold lamé gown.

The final look as worn by Deepika Padukone was a custom Zac Posen metallic pink lurex jacquard gown that featured 408 delicately printed 3D embroidery made of Accura 5530 plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine that was sewn on to the outside of the gown. The printing and finish of the embroideries took over 160 hours and was printed at Protolabs in North Carolina.

Posen also highlighted the innovation of 3D printed with his own look, adding a Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs palm leaf brooch to his Brooks Brothers made-to-measure purple velvet shawl collar dinner jacket and black tuxedo pant with coordinating pink vest, tuxedo shirt and bow tie.

His dinner guests Andrew Garfield and Vito Schnabel wore Brooks Brothers and also incorporating 3D printed accessories to their evening wear, with both wearing Rose cuff links that represented a scaled down version of the rose gown.

This isn’t the first time that Posen has showcased innovation on the catwalk at the Met Gala, in 2016 he designed a custom fibre optic gown for Claire Danes that changed colour.



Images: courtesy of Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs - Met Gala catwalk by Getty Images, behind-the-scene images by Patrick Fraser