Step into the world of 3D-printed tech couture

"Where delicate handmade embroidery and needlework is replaced by code." High-tech fashion makes a statement at Paris Fashion Week.

Click on this image to see the reverse side of a stunning black dress made with a 3D printer. Materialise

Before too long, techy women may just print out that little black dress instead of buying it at a store.

Don't believe me? Take a look at some of the 3D-printed gems strolling down the catwalk at the Paris Fashion Show this week. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen's haute couture show Voltage tapped the prowess of 3D-printing companies Stratasys and Materialise to create two pieces that look out of this world.

The stunning black number (seen above) came from the minds of Herpen and Austrian architect Julia Koerner. Materialise created the black dress with its 3D-printing technology. In a statement, Koerner describes the wear as "a highly complex, parametrically generated geometrical structure," adding that "the architectural structure aims to superimpose multiple layers of thin woven lines which animate the body in an organic way."

Herpen created another ensemble (below) with assistance from MIT Media Lab professor Neri Oxman. The duo tapped Stratasys' Object Connex multimaterial 3D-printing technology, which enables the operator to use hard and soft materials in a single build.

"The ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a 'second skin' for the body acting as armor-in-motion; in this way we were able to design not only the garment's form but also its motion," Oxman explains. "The incredible possibilities afforded by these new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture as 'tech couture' where delicate handmade embroidery and needlework is replaced by code."

A model dons an amazing 3D-printed cape and skirt combo. Click on the image to see the reverse angle. Stratasys

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