Iris van Herpen’s Spectacular Season: A 3D Printed Wedding Dress and Two Galas

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Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has had a busy season, showcasing her innovative 3D printed creations on some of the world’s most prestigious stages. On May 11, 2024, Brazilian tax lawyer Mariana Pavani walked down the aisle in a high-tech wedding dress by van Herpen, featured on the cover of New York magazine Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). Shortly after, actress Eva Green stunned at the Cannes Film Festival in a couture dress featuring intricate, insect-like elements. At the Met Gala, Indian entrepreneur Mona Patel made a striking appearance in a dress adorned with moving butterflies.

The pioneering fashion designer, whose dazzling creations currently grace a museum exhibition in Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, has captured global attention with her 3D-printed masterpieces. These innovative designs, showcased in some of the world’s most prestigious locations, show her unparalleled creativity and technical know-how.

Pavani’s Wedding

With van Herpen’s signature blend of high fashion and cutting-edge technology, Pavani’s wedding dress has intricate 3D printed elements that give it an ethereal design. The bodice is decorated with an elaborate, lattice-like design that rises into a high neck and adds a dramatic flair. The skirt and veil, which flow gracefully, complement the futuristic design. Overall, it looks like the perfect balance between tradition and innovation. This trait has been present in other of van Herpen’s famous designs, like the dress that Queen Maxima of the Netherlands recently wore for the opening of the “Sculpting the Senses” exhibit at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs.

Brazilian lawyer Mariana Pavani wearing the Iris van Herpen wedding gown. Image courtesy of Mariana Pavani via Instagram.

Although this is van Herpen’s first 3D printed wedding dress, other designers have previously explored this innovative approach. In 2015, Shanghai-based Xuberance unveiled an intricate 3D printed wedding dress at TCT Asia.

More recently, in 2023, Israel-based haute couture wedding dress designer Ada Hefetz used Stratasys 3DFashion technology to create three bespoke gowns displayed at Milan Design Week. Hefetz, known for her blend of modern chic and vintage aesthetics, embraced 3D printing to push the boundaries of wedding dress design. Her collection, celebrating the circle of life and marital union, marked a significant milestone in using 3D printing in haute couture.

Pavani’s wedding dress by Iris van Herpen. Image courtesy of Pavani via Instagram.

Despite these earlier examples, van Herpen’s creation for Pavani stands out for its unique artistry and meticulous craftsmanship. The dress took two years to make, and Pavani had to attend two fittings in Paris and three in Amsterdam in van Herpen’s atelier. The bride only wore it for part of the wedding. In her social media account photos, she is seen wearing another dress for the rest of the celebration. Overall, it was a perfect blend of the magic that happens when innovation meets romance.

Cannes

The flurry of high-profile events is not nearly over for van Herpen. During the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals, Jury Member Eva Green attended the Kinds Of Kindness movie red carpet on May 17. The actress has worn van Herpen before. In 2019, she stunned spectators in a silver laser-cut “Suminagashi” dress at the premiere of the 2019 movie Proxima and wore a “Shift Souls” gown for the premiere of the live-action remake of Dumbo.

The James Bond actress has always shown a unique sense of style, and this time, it was no different. With a sheer base and intricate black-and-white 3D printed elements, the “Ars Amatoria” gown, which was part of the Iris Van Herpen 2022 couture fall collection, creates a web-like structure that flows down the length of the gown.

Eva Green wears Iris van Herpen gown to the 2024 Cannes Film Festival Red Carpet. Image courtesy of Iris van Herpen via Facebook.

Adding the sculptural sleeves and some delicate white lace, which is embroidered into an upcycled laser-cut design, the bodice is reminiscent of cathedral stained glass, says van Herpen, and results in yet another futuristic-looking silhouette, ideal for the Cannes Film Festival’s glamorous atmosphere.

Met Gala

Although the Met Gala was over quickly, the dresses provided so much material that even two weeks later, we are still dissecting them. One standout piece was an interactive gown worn by Patel. This custom-made “kinetic dress” is a collaboration between the designer and Seattle-based metalsmith Casey Curran, known for mixing traditional techniques with new technologies, such as laser-cutting and 3D printing, to bring his creations to life.

Mona Patel’s moving butterfly dress for the 2024 Met Gala. Image courtesy of Iris van Herpen via Facebook.

According to Patel, the duo brought her vision of a kinetic armpiece full of butterflies to life in less than 30 days. The intensely interactive process stems from a dream Patel had of having mechanical gloves that opened and closed to create a “multisensory effect” for the dress that synced with the work of influential fashion photographer Nick Knight‘s exhibition.

Mona Patel’s moving butterfly dress for the 2024 Met Gala. Image courtesy of Iris van Herpen via Facebook.

Patel goes on to explain that she discovered Curran on March 29, had a first call on April 1, and wore the dress on May 6. The resulting intricate 3D printed structures make it stand out, especially the series of moving butterfly motifs that seemed to come to life as Patel moved through the Met Gala’s red carpet. This captivating effect was possible thanks to van Herpen and Curran’s innovative use of 3D printing combined with delicate, sheer fabrics that created a busy silhouette.

The dress, called “APSARA,” definitely resembles a dream-like creation. It perfectly captured the Met Gala’s theme, “The Garden of Time,” and left a lasting impression on everyone who saw it.

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