Antwerp Fashion’s Noga Karpel is an Israeli fashion designer who focuses her work on femininity, the female body, feminist art, and her own journey in life as a female artist. Inspired by the work of Louise Bourgeouis, a late French-American artist who explored the concept of feminist art, Noga’s latest collection revolves around needlework, a craft that connects women over history as it is passed down from one woman to another over generations.
“In this collection, I wanted to use needlework and haute couture techniques to reconnect to traditional embroidering and crocheting, I wanted to reconnect to my grandmothers who used to make traditional garments. However, in the final silhouette of the collection, I wanted to challenge the boundaries between the traditional and the modern. I wanted to research how we could apply modern technology to create very detailed work while retaining that feeling of craftsmanship”.
This is when Noga Karpel came up with the concept of the Chained Hands Dress, which is inspired by both Louise Bourgeouis’ Give or Take Sculpture and the 1920’s haute couture dresses of the theatre’s leading ladies, focusing on dramatic and glamorized femininity. The dress would be made out of hundreds of chained miniature sculptures of hands, all of them forming a chainmail garment. The dual concept of chained hands would emphasize female beauty, support, and dependence throughout history, while also creating room for discussion about the struggles women have been facing throughout history.
Inspired by Anouk Wipprecht’s work on 3D printed wearables, Noga decided to research whether this technology could be the answer. “As a designer who is mainly focused on haute couture garments, stepping out of my comfort zone and trying out 3D printing felt like a leap in the unknown. The concept of not being able to touch the material was so unsettling and I was looking for a way to combine my personal, artistic touch with the very detailed and ‘perfect’ 3D printing”.
Noga searched for a local partner that could help her make the leap into this new world of 3D printing. She got in touch with PrintPlace, a Belgian 3D printing start-up founded by 4 passionate engineers with years of experience in product development and realization across many industries. “Right from the start it was important for us to understand Noga’s design language and to fully involve her in the process,” recalled Wesly Jacobs, Co-Founder and Business Leader at PrintPlace. “Together we looked for feasible solutions that respected both timing and budget while achieving very high quality. We shifted quite fast to Desktop SLA 3D printing and we optimized build parameters and support placement to achieve a perfect balance between speed and quality”.
“For me, as a designer, it was a very unique experience to combine the worlds of haute couture and 3D printing”, Noga added. “The level of detail and quality this technology could offer really surprised me. The combination of 3D printing as a production technology with the more traditional craft of manually assembling the individual hand sculptures resulted in the artistic feel I ultimately wanted to achieve. Following in the footsteps of great fashion designers such as Iris Van Herpen and Anouk Wipprecht, I’m already thinking about how I could take it one step further”.