Protolabs and GE Additive take 3D printing to Met Gala

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A leading fashion designer has collaborated with Protolabs and GE Additive to showcase 3D printed sculptural garments and accessories at the Met Gala, an event described as fashion’s ‘biggest night out’.

Met Gala
Clear bustier (Pic Protolabs)

Zac Posen, who has designed dresses for Uma Thurman, Michelle Obama and Rihanna, used this year’s Met Gala to highlight the growing influence of additive manufacturing in the world of fashion by displaying a transparent 3D printed bustier.

Worn by actress Nina Dobrev, the garment was created using Protolabs’ expertise in stereolithography and was inspired by the concept of freezing natural objects in motion.

The three-way collaboration involved manufacturing experts at the company’s UK and German facilities, as well as engineers from GE Additive.

Science, engineering and art all work together

Posen said: “The Met Gala is special for designers because it’s the biggest fashion event in the world. This year it is particularly special because we’re working with GE Additive and Protolabs to 3D print ideas that are unachievable using fabric.

“For me, science, engineering and art all work together. That’s why standing at the forefront of 3D printing is so important.”

Daniel Cohn, general manager of Protolabs, said: “In a fashion project like this, 3D printing gives designers almost complete creative freedom.

“Designers are no longer limited by traditional manufacturing processes, where a project would be curtailed by questions like ‘can a part be cut to this shape’ or ‘can it suspend itself under its own weight’. What we have here is a very pure design process, from concept to physical part.”

Met Gala
Nina Dobrev attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Posen’s complete range of garments and accessories was 3D printed by Protolabs’ global operation, utilising the company’s manufacturing facilities in the UK, Europe and the US.

The range also included a rose gown worn by English model Jourdan Dunn, an embroidery gown worn by actress Deepika Padukone, a palm shoulder accessory worn by actress Katie Holmes, and a head piece worn by actress Julia Garner.

The Met Gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition, with this year’s exhibition - “Camp: Notes on Fashion”- opening on 9th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.