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Met Gala 2019: Zac Posen, GE Additive and Protolabs take 3D printing to the red carpet

A number of dresses and accessories were 3D printed at this year's Met Gala event

Celebrities at the Met Gala stunned last night with their take on Camp and most did not disappoint. Somewhat surprisingly, the Camp theme brought in more 3D printed garments than the 2016 Met Gala’s “Fashion in an Age of Technology” theme. In any case, we’re absolutely living for it.

The garments in question were realized through a collaboration between designer Zac Posen, GE Additive and Protolabs and were worn by British supermodel Jourdan Dunn, actresses Nina Dobrev, Katie Holmes and Julia Garner and Bollywood star Deepika Padukone. Dunn and Dobrev arguably stole the show in a 3D printed gown and bustier, respectively, while the others captivated with 3D printed accessories and details.

Zac Posen takes on 3D printing

American designer Zac Posen is not known for shying away from ambitious and boundary-pushing designs. If there was any doubt about that before last night, there surely isn’t now. The designer has been working closely with GE Additive and Protolabs for the past six months to design and create a series of 3D printed garments.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019
Designer Zac Posen

The resulting wearables, including a gown, bustier, collar accessory, headpiece and embroidery, all are incredibly sculptural and bring to mind natural objects frozen in motion. “I dreamt the collection,” said Posen. “GE Additive helped engineer it and Protolabs printed it.”

Jourdan Dunn’s rose gown

British supermodel Jourdan Dunn has made it onto this morning’s best dressed lists for a reason. The custom 3D printed rose gown designed by Posen, printed by GE Additive and Protolabs and ultimately work by Dunn was a revelation and brings something new to the fashion-tech world.

The gown itself is made up of 21 unique 3D printed rose petals, which measure roughly 20 inches in size and weigh about 1 lb. each. The petals were 3D printed on a stereolithography system from durable Accura Xtreme White 200 and were then finished with a primer and colour-shifting automotive paint for the reflective effect—the paint in question is DuPont’s Twilight Fire Chromalusion.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019

Not only were the rose petals 3D printed, however, as the base of the dress is itself a 3D printed titanium cage, which was custom made for Dunn’s body. The modular titanium cage was 3D printed at GE Additive’s Technology Center in Cincinnati on an Arcam EBM machine using titanium (Ti-64). Once all the components were complete, the petals were fasted in place on the cage to create the full gown effect.

In total, the rose gown took over 1,100 hours to produce. The petals were all printed at Protolab’s expansive 3D printing facility in North Carolina.

Nina Dobrev’s bustier

Nina Dobrev, best known for her leading role in the Vampire Diaries, turned heads yesterday at the Met Gala with a translucent 3D printed bustier dress. Like Dunn’s gown, the bustier was customized for Dobrev, using a 3D-recreation of her body.

The dress was 3D printed in four pieces on an SLA machine using Somos Watershed XC 11122 plastic. The glassy effect of the garment was realized by wet sanding the 3D printed pieces and spraying them with a clear coat.

In total, the almost water-like bustier dress took over 200 hours to 3D print and finish at Protolabs’ facility in Germany.

Katie Holmes’ collar accessory

Last night, actress Katie Holmes took to the Met Gala runway in a stunning purple tulle dress by Zac Posen on the arm of her now official beau, Jamie Foxx. The custom gown was accented with a striking palm leaf collar accessory which brought an added element of fun and camp to the dress.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019

The palm leaves, which draped over Holmes’ shoulders and came together to hold up the gown’s neckline, were 3D printed from Accura 60 plastic. Once printed, the leaves were finished using pearlescent purple paint (Pantone 8104C). The entire production process for the dress accessory took over 56 hours at Protolabs’ North Carolina facility.

Julia Garner’s headpiece

American actress and model Julia Garner—known for her role on Netflix’s Ozark—showed up to the Met Gala draped in an elegant silver and gold lamé gown and wearing a Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs headpiece.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019

The 3D printed headpiece’s design is inspired by vines, with subtle leaf and berry details throughout. Though the intricate accessory looks metallic, it was actually 3D printed as a single piece using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer and Nylon 12 plastic before being brass plated. Overall, the headpiece production took over 22 hours at Protolabs’ North Carolina facility.

Deepika Padukone’s embroidery

Bollywood star Deepika Padukone took the camp theme in stride with a bright pink metallic lurex jacquard gown. The Disney-esque dress—which needed a train carrier—was detailed with intricate 3D printed embroidery. The embroidery elements were 3D printed using an SLA machine and Accura 5530 plastic at Protolabs’ North Carolina site.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019

To give the 3D printed details their final effect, they were vacuum metalized and detailed with Pantone 8081 C paint. In total, 408 embroidery pieces were 3D printed, finished and sewn to the gown, which took over 160 hours.

Met Gala men

It wasn’t just the women who were lucky enough to be adorned in unique 3D printed wearables, as some of the men on the red carpet also elevated their looks with 3D printed accessories by Zac Posen.

Zac Posen 3D Met Gala 2019

Posen himself showed up wearing a Brooks Brothers made-to-measure purple velvet shawl collar dinner jacket and black tuxedo pant accented with 3D printed palm leaf lapel brooches. Actor Andrew Garfield wore a Brooks Brothers made-to-measure ensemble with a set of 3D printed rose cufflinks. The cufflinks were printed from a Microfine green material using an SLA machine and were finished with colour-changing red and gold paint.

Art dealer Vito Schnabel also turned up wearing 3D printed rose cuff links by Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs. Like Garfield’s cuff accessories, the cuff links are inspired by the rose gown and integrate Zac Posen’s logo into their design.

Zac Posen rose gown

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault moved from her home of Montreal, Canada to the Netherlands in 2014 to pursue a master’s degree in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. It was during her time in Amsterdam that she became acquainted with 3D printing technology and began writing for a local additive manufacturing news platform. Now based in France, Tess has over two and a half years experience writing, editing and publishing additive manufacturing content with a particular interest in women working within the industry. She is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM industry.

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