On May 5th for Manus x Machina, The Met Costume Institute’s spring exhibition will treat visitors to 90 worldly high-fashion garments. Which will include many striking items made from 3D printing. These outfits are layered, cross- hatched suit from Chanel’s 2015-16 Autumn/Winter haute couture line, and these 3D-printed clothes are pretty much the exclusive purview of haute couture. But as the technology is adopted by more apparel makers. It shows potential to trickle down to the masses and when that happens, it can be as revolutionary as the sewing machine says Andrew Bolton Manus x Machina’s curator. Couture clothes, in a traditional fashion industry definition, are “items made for you that will fit your body”. Usually means the garments are expensive, rare and difficult to obtain, but with the item 3D printed this extravagance can move into any home that has a printer.
Now before you run out to buy a Makerbot for your next cocktail dress, keep in mind that 3D printing is still very much in its early stages. Such companies as Materialise, a Belgian software company that creates the technology for 3D printing that helped create several of the dresses in the Met show. Having the capability to make virtually anything a computer can model, but wearing a 3D printed object is a different matter. The creative director of Materialise Joris Debo once said in the beginning they were stiff, almost like body armor, slowly there were changes to make the design more flexible. Even now 3D printed material can’t come close to fabrics like cotton, let alone Lycra. One area I haven’t seen much growth is the combination of 3D printing with fabric, said Bolton like a structured, 3D printed bodice, with a fabric skirt.