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Zac Posen 3D-prints celebrity looks at this year’s Met Gala

Zac Posen used 3D printing techniques to create four custom outfits for celebrities attending the annual Met Gala yesterday, including two gowns and two accessory pieces.

Jourdan Dunn and Nina Dobrev wore dresses that were 3D printed using their exact body measurements; Deepika Padukone wore 3D printed embroidery on her design; while Katie Holmes and Julia Garner were outfitted with 3D printed accessories.

Posen collaborated with GE Additive and Protolabs for 12 months to design, engineer and print the concepts respectively, for the Costume Institute’s annual event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

“We flew to Pittsburgh to see a printing facility, and learned about plastics and polymers and polyamides and all these different materials,” Posen explained to CNBC. “Then I started to learn with different materials what was possible, what’s not possible. And really the answer is, almost everything is possible.”

The custom dresses took a long time to create especially, he explained, with multiple versions being designed and improved upon over the course of the year. Both gowns were fitted exactly to the wearer’s body, using body scanning technology that took up to an hour of standing still each.

Jourdan Dunn’s rose-petal gown took over 1,100 hours to print and finish. The dress is made up of 21 individual durable plastic petals that are fastened together through a titanium cage. Every batch of three petals took up to five days to print.

For Nina Dobrev’s translucent mini dress, 200 hours were spent on the bustier alone – one of the four pieces that made up the dress. To give the dress a glassy appearance, it was then sanded and sprayed with a clear coat, going through two iterations before it was deemed transparent enough by Posen. The final dress was assembled in New York ahead of the Gala, requiring five people to put the bustier onto Dobrev due to its extremely delicate nature.

Katie Holmes and actress Julia Garner wore 3D printed accessories; a collar and a headpiece, which took 56 and 22 hours to print and finish respectively. Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone’s gown was embellished with 408 printed 3-D embroidery, which took over 160 hours to print and finish.

The designs were inspired by the idea of capturing natural forms in motion, befitting the “camp” theme of this year’s gala and corresponding museum exhibition, which celebrates all things “artifice and exaggeration”, as interpreted by Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay, Notes on camp.

The technology used for the dresses, as well as Katie Holmes’ headpiece and Deepika Padukone embroidery, is called stereolithography (or SLA), which involves layering very thin pieces of liquid plastic (thinner than a piece of hair) on top of each other. These are then shaped by a laser to take incredibly intricate shapes. The gowns and accessories were manufactured in Protolab facilities in Germany as well as North Carolina.

This year is not the first time the designer has put a focus on using technology to bring innovative new design ideas to life for the gala. In 2016, he made headlines for creating a dress for actress Claire Danes, which glowed in the dark.

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London’s CFE announces latest cohort of fashion tech pioneers for incubator programme

Higher is one of the new entrants to the CFE FashTech Pioneer programme
Higher is one of the new entrants to the CFE FashTech Pioneer programme

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, part of London College of Fashion, has announced the latest fashion and technology start-ups entering its six-month incubator.

The FashTech Pioneer programme, as it’s called, is supporting everything from wearable technology to a fashion rental business, on this, its third time around.

Included are AI-enabled fashion styling platform, Becoco; immersive AR company Meshmerise; customisable accessories brand, Okautumn; sample tracking and editorial platform, FavourUp; luxury rental business, Higher; and heat technology wearable brand, Emel + Aris.

“We have worked hard to build a brand and launch our first product and now, with the help and insight from CFE, we look forward to building a solid international business. We are particularly excited about working with CFE on technology innovation and collaborations with designers and other innovators,” said the Emel + Aris team.

Becoco’s founder, Katharina Vandamme-Eybesfeld, commented: “CFE’s program is the perfect fit for BECOCO – after having secured the tech grant from Innovate UK we are now looking to further develop the marketing and branding side of the business, and extend our network within the fashion industry.”

Each of the start-ups were selected on the basis of “having a unique and scalable business idea, the potential to disrupt existing industry models, and being at a stage where they can benefit from right time interventions”, according to the CFE team.

Part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the start-ups get access to a wide range of business support in areas such as branding, pitching, digital strategy and marketing.

The CFE is continuing in its 14th year supporting emerging London-based talent. Previous intake on its design programme has included the likes of Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou. Earlier FashTech Pioneers (a programme started in 2015) include wearables company Studio XO, customisable bridal wear platform Prim & Clover, and just last year crowdfunding platform Awaytomars, among others.


Don’t miss: the inaugural FashTech Summit in London (and a discount for readers)


When referring to fashion and technology today, it’s often easy to assume we mean the flashy side of the industry – the technology that’s impacting how we do business from an exciting, exhilarating and game-changing perspective. But actually, what really counts are all those small iterations that increasingly make brands and retailers in this world more relevant to consumers and ultimately more commercially successful.

Fashion and technology, as a theme, can therefore capture everything from reworked supply chains to developments in fibre science, the role of digital media and social commerce, not to mention all the new players entering the space and encouraging an increased culture of competition.

It’s those very subjects that will be discussed at the inaugural FashTech Summit in London on April 13-15. Some 60 speakers will share their insights, including Robin Derrick, global creative director at Spring Studios; Kelly Kowal, managing director at Farfetch Black & White; Luca Marini, founder and COO at Finery; Wil Harris, digital director at Condé Nast Britain; Pia Stanchina, industry manager, digital acceleration of luxury, fashion and beauty at Google; and Elliott Goldenberg, head of digital payments at MasterCard.

The aim is to create a destination for dialogue that will accelerate innovation at this intersection of fashion and technology. Other themes to be discussed over the 2.5 days include the phone as a point of sale device, the evolution of fast and intelligent delivery systems in retail, what investors are looking for and where they see the industry moving, and what the psychological and visual catalysts are for consumers to click the “buy” button and make a purchase.

Debera Johnson, executive director at The Pratt Institute and Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator, will explore whether the next Alexander McQueen will be a biologist, highlighting how scientific discoveries are reinventing the materials, function and properties of our clothing.

Meanwhile, Amy Nicholson, technical evangelist at Microsoft, ?will talk about intelligent systems from the knowledge of our environment becoming more realistic than ever before, outlining the roles of sensors, the power of cloud computing and the availability of complex machine learning algorithms.

An early FashTech event
An early FashTech event

“I’m thrilled to announce the official launch of the London FashTech Summit. As a firm believer in London’s role at the heart of the growing FashTech industry, I’m confident that our array of world class speakers, global brands, investors and start-ups will create a destination for dialogue and accelerate innovation at the intersection between fashion and technology. Together, we will challenge the status quo and unveil a comprehensive view of the FashTech landscape through dynamic, interactive events that showcase today’s and tomorrow’s brightest ideas,” says FashTech founder and CEO Alex Semenzato.

FashTech first launched in 2014 as an event series connecting the fashion and technology community through a series of meet-ups focused on start-up showcases and panel discussions. After 21 events in 19 months between London, New York and San Francisco there was a demand from the community to do more, says Semenzato.

Partners for the event include the digital division of Condé Nast Britain, as well as London & Partners. Alongside keynote presentations and themed panel discussions, there will be a workshop held to offer intimate consultancy sessions to delegates and a start-up showcase designed to support innovators from around the globe and attract an array of investors eager to find the next big thing.

The summit will take place in the heart of East London at Studio Spaces, E1. Even better news, readers of Fashion & Mash have unique access to 50% off the ticket price. Enter code FASHMASH via

(This is a sponsored post)