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UntitledI was having a conversation with the friend of a friend recently who asked about 3D printing. And predictably as soon as I produced a few words about the technology, he interrupted abruptly with the all too common, “Oh, it’s kind of like Star Trek and the Jetsons rolled into one, right? Cool!” In a bit of a hurry, I gave a polite nod, but reflecting later it occurred me that no, actually, that’s hardly true anymore, and 3D printing really needs a new image at this point. While we all love to embrace our inner Trekkie and surely all love to imagine ourselves flying off to work in motorized bubbles one day, 3D printing is just so spectacularly—and so intensely—about much, much more.

This all occurred to me as I was checking out the work of fashion designer and artist Michael Michalsky. Wowing us with realism, craftsmanship in miniature, and a serious understanding of how to use 3D printing to delight an audience, it’s no wonder his exhibit at the gallery of Anna Jill Lüpertz in Berlin has been extended through the end of this month. Michalsky, also of Berlin, indeed uses the technology and his little 3D models to take us to another realm, aptly named ‘Reality.’

DSC1636Showcasing thirteen 3D figurines, also known as poupées de mode, for his first Atelier Michalsky couture collection, the artist indeed shows us how he is using all the benefits of 3D printing to his advantage for showing off his fashion line.

While human models are of course generally lovely, exciting, and even unpredictable, by playfully making his own, Michalsky doesn’t have to pay anyone, wait for them to show up, or worry about whether they gained a few pounds at the waistline during fittings. He shows off his own sustainable force of tiny models, tailored exactly to his needs, and incapable of throwing tantrums or ‘tude. They are really amazing in their diminutive state, showing off his clothing designs in perfect detail.

“I’m really thrilled about my 3D models. It is unbelievable how accurate in every detail 3D printing already works today. This technology establishes brand new possibilities even in the field of fashion,” says Michalsky.

holding-michael-michalskyKnown as a visionary and an innovator, we certainly couldn’t see a better example. Obviously, gallery owner Anna Jill Lüpertz agrees:

As a creative person Michalsky constantly extends his horizon and proves himself in the most different disciplines. In his current project, he finds a new form for presenting his collection. Detached by the carousel of fashion he transforms his looks into valuable objects, which persist self-sustaining for their own.” said Lüpertz.

His work was also recently discussed in Vogue, where they gave even further explanation to his pieces, as “high-tech versions of the 17th-century fashion dolls that Parisian couturiers used to show their designs to prospective clients in international royal courts.”

All the figurines were made specifically for this particular exhibit, which has been extended solely because of its popularity with the public. Made in collaboration with DOOB Group AG–one of the leaders in Germany’s 3D technology–the 3D printed models each stand 25 cm high and are mounted on black, highly polished granite plinths.

All for sale, each of them has her own title, named after the couture look, and is signed by Michalsky, with limited editions available, with three different pieces per look. There was actually even one model of the famed designer, still on exhibit, which stands slightly taller and was already sold to a fan. The exhibit also coincided with the timing of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, and offered a more low-key and playful show than is often seen from the designer who generally likes to go big—offering just the opposite with ‘Reality.’ How do you think this exhibit might affect trends in fashion? Discuss in the 3D Printed ‘Reality’ Fashion Models forum over at 3DPB.com.

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