All The Pleats That Are Fit To Print: Zac Posen’s 3D-Printed Couture Gives The Met Gala A New Dimension | GE Reports

May 7, 2019, by Kristin Kloberdanz

When British supermodel Jourdan Dunn stepped onto the red carpet at the Met Gala Monday night, the crowd rustled with excitement. Dunn was wearing a blood-red gown in the shape of a rose. Lacquered and stiff, the dress looked like freshly poured hard candy. The glossy petals shone in the spotlight, revealing complex layers of folds and velvety swirls that conveyed a vibrant flower in full bloom.

But this gown was no ordinary high-fashion affair spun from a confection of silks. Designed by Zac Posen, the dress — 21 plastic petals and the titanium cage holding them in place — was entirely 3D-printed. The petals were printed by Protolabs, a GE Additive manufacturing partner, while GE Additive produced the titanium cage. It took around 250 hours of labor to design and 3D-print the dress — including three days per petal — and another 400 hours to sand and coat the petals with a glossy red automotive paint. “The petals remind me of a Ferrari,” says Eric Utley, an applications engineer at Protolabs. “They look and feel like the panels of a supercar.”

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