Burlesque performer and style icon Dita Von Teese debuted a 3D-printed dress at the Ace Hotel in New York City on Monday, born out of a collaboration with additive technology between designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitonti.
Schmidt, a well-known designer of the “bubble dress” for Lady Gaga worked with Bitonti, a Brooklyn-based architect who renders designs with new technologies in unusual and innovative materials. In this new collaboration between the two designers from different disciplines they took the time to create a dress using additive technology from hardened powdered nylon that still allowed Dita Von Teese to have room for movement of her body.
“We were an interesting team because I take things that are virtual and I figure out what to make them of,” Bitonti said.
The dress was virtually collaborated upon using simple softwares such as Skype on iPads. Although Schmidt designed the entire dress on his iPad and communicated with Bitonti through the process of imagining 17 unique pieces which consisted of 3,000 joints that need to be put into place on the dresses design to allow the dress to move with Dita Von Teeses body, it was the next steps that really made the project what it was.
The dress will go on tour and be displayed first at Swarovski and then in museums, but as Schmidt said, “no other woman but Dita will ever wear this dress.” With that, Dita leaned back in her chair, drink in hand and said, “I’d like to see ’em try.”
Below, the inspiration and technology behind the first articulated 3D-printed gown, designed by Michael Schmidt with architect Francis Bitonti and printed by Shapeways for burlesque icon Dita Von Teese: