Iris van Herpen's Crystal-esque 3D printed dress & shoes for Paris Fashion Week turns heads on the runway

Iris van Herpen's Crystal-esque 3D printed dress & shoes for Paris Fashion Week turns heads on the runway

Although we’ve seen quite the gamut of 3D printed fashion designs, many have been limited by the cost of producing them which can oftentimes be much more than those made by traditional manufacturing processes and frankly, a lot less comfortable.  Regardless, using 3D printing to create a variety of goods ranging from dresses to shoes is something that probably isn’t going to go away anytime soon and thanks to more advanced methods of additive manufacturing, methods that used to be much more expensive have come down in cost considerably. 

Among those who is no stranger to using 3D printing in her designs is Dutch designer Iris van Herpen.  In combining both traditional craft techniques with digital fabrication, the artist/designer has made a name for herself as a true revolutionary in the world of fashion when it comes to using 3D printing on the runway.  The designer’s most recent collection for Fall/Winter 2015-16, titled “Hacking Infinity”, debuted at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.  


Among other pieces in the collection was an SLA 3D printed dress that van Herpen designed in collaboration with architect Niccolo Casas and was fabricated by using a 3D Systems’ ProX 950 SLA printer.  

According to Casas, the main aspiration for the new dress design was the combination of motion and complexity; the dress acts as an ecosystem of unique individual components that continuously react to the body’s movement.  In total, there are over 6556 different components that make up the entirety of the outfit’s “ecosystem”.  

In order to print the dress, four panels were 3D printed in the transparent Accura ClearVue material by 3D Systems’ Quickparts on-demand 3D printing service.  3D Systems helped the designers optimize their 3D files before spending nearly 200 hours printing the objects and hours more just to remove the support material.  

Additionally, the show highlighted van Herpen’s collaboration with Japanese designer Noritaka Tatehana.  For the collaboration, the pair spent nearly six months creating a pair of 3D printed shoes that focused on a form inspiration consisting of clustered crystals.

“When Iris proposed the idea to me, I wasn’t sure that it would work for shoes,” explained Tatehana.   

“But, I was keen to take on the challenge. Iris gives off the impression of being gentle, but she has clear-cut visions and will make every effort to achieve her goals.”

To create the shoes Tatehana and van Herpen started with Tatehana’s existing heel-less shoe design as a platform and then overlaid them with a refreshing new design.  With help from 3D modelers Shio Imai and Kenjiro Nagata of Moa Creation, the final designs were created in CAD and then manufactured.


“We both learned a lot from the collaboration project and consider this to only be a start to something new,” added Tatehana.  



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