You're looking at the first fully articulated 3D-printed dress. Printed off at Shapeways, the piece was designed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitoni specifically for burlesque star Dita Von Teese. In the future, this is the kind of clothing you might be able to get from a department store.
Sprinkled with 13,000 Swarovski crystals, the dress is made from from 17 different pieces and 3000 joints, so it moves like a regular old dress. Von Teese debuted the dress on Monday night at a private runway event. Boy, does she make that futuristic frock look good.
More broadly, 3D printing is a really exciting concept for the fashion industry. At Paris Fashion week in January, designer Iris van Herpen sent some amazing 3D-printed sheaths down the catwalk. Sure, they're high fashion and formal, but they look like something you might actually want to wear (if you had the right occasion). We've also seen our fair share of 3D-printed glasses, purses and shoes. At this rate, we're still only at the beginning. Duann Scott of Shapeways told Wired:
Once we have the machines better suited to doing clothing, we can do custom fits. It's very very possible to go into a change room, get a 3-D scan, and get a garment printed exactly to your fit. Traditionally, all garments are either a weave or a stitch. And with 3-D printing, we can … introduce something completely different. So we can grow designs rather than just using something that's centuries-old technology. It's a whole way to move forward in fashion and clothing and textiles.
Dita Von Teese is the kinda gal designers are going to make custom pieces for, and you're almost definitely never going to buy this exact dress, but this is the kind of thing you could be printing up for yourself in the not-too-distant future.