Iris van Herpen just made the first 3D-printed wedding dress

Brazilian lawyer Mariana Pavani just got married in a dress by the iconic Dutch designer that took 41 hours to print. 

Iris Van Herpen is no stranger to structural designs. You’ll have seen her eye-catching, high-fashion, medium-bending pieces on the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce, who popped on a rather OTT Van Herpen number during her Renaissance tour. The Dutch designer isn’t even a stranger to the world of 3D-printed garments either. It was way back in 2010 (before 3D-printing was a “thing”), that the designer first experimented with the pioneering technology, debuting the  “Crystallization” top at Amsterdam Fashion Week. It was only over the weekend, however, that Harpen’s foray into the world of 3D-printed bridal pieces got their moment, and that was when Brazillian lawyer Mariana Pavani strode down the aisle in a gown that took a whopping 41 hours to print. Otherwordly, ethereal, and a bit like something from the film Annihilation, the Van Herpen bridal dress was designed over the course of 600 hours on software called ZBrush, which is also used for creating “high-resolution models” for films and video games. The end result also relied on a 3D bodyscan of the bride.

While a glance at the dress might have you believe that Pavani had to shuffle down the aisle, rustling around in stiff plastic, because of where 3D-printing is today, that actually wasn’t the case. “With the materials and the flexibilities that you have today, it’s super comfortable,” Van Herpen told WWD. “[Pavani] can sit in it, she can basically do anything in it”.

While 3D-printing still remains dubious territory – namely, there’s a lot of hoo-ha around 3D-printed firearms – the use of this technology in fashion is more welcome. Sure, it’s reliance on plastics spells out something not-so-great ecologically, but by and large it’s being embraced. As well as Van Herpen, Nike have delved into this novel sector too, offering up their A.I.R collection, a range of 3D-printed trainers. And potentially the most mental way that 3D-printing has found it’s way into fashion? It was behind that replica head that Jared Leto carried around at the 2019 Met Gala.

While a bespoke bridal gown from Van Herpen is going to set you back a pretty penny, there are other ways you can get your fix of the iconic designer’s trailblazing work. It was only earlier this year that she released Iris Van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses, a book to accompany her grand retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

WriterAmber Rawlings
Banner Image CreditInstagram / Iris Van Herpen