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Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs unveil breathtaking 3D printing collaboration at the Met Gala

Zac Posen, GE Additive and Protolabs unveiled a collaboration featuring a range of innovative, sculptural 3D printed garments and accessories – inspired by the concept of freezing natural objects in motion. Over the past six months, Zac Posen and his creative team have explored a range of 3D printing and digital technologies with design engineers and 3D printing experts from GE Additive and Protolabs. This collaboration has resulted in breathtaking results – unlike any 3D printed garments produced before.

With his vision and foresight, Zac Posen is demonstrating that almost anything is possible with 3D printing. He and his team are not afraid to push the boundaries of what is possible. His latest collaboration is a continuation of his vision of incorporating cutting-edge technology and innovation in his sophisticated and glamorous style.

“I dreamt the collection, GE Additive helped engineer it and Protolabs printed it,” said Zac Posen.

Capturing Nature in Motion

Four gowns and a headdress featuring 3D printed elements and structures were unveiled at the Met Gala, and worn by British supermodel Jourdan Dunn, actresses Nina Dobrev, Katie Holmes, Julia Garner and Bollywood icon, Deepika Padukone.

Jourdan Dunn wore a custom Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs rose gown. The gown features 21 total petals, averaging 20 inches in size and weighing 1 lb. each. Every petal is unique. The petals are fastened in place by a modular cage which is invisible from the outside. This dress was designed to a 3D re-creation of Jourdan’s body. The petals are made of Accura Xtreme White 200 durable plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The petals are finished with primer and color shifting automotive paint (DuPont “Twilight Fire” Chromalusion). The cage that fastens the petals are made of Titanium (Ti-64) printed on a GE Additive Arcam EBM machine. The printing and finish of the rose gown took over 1,100 hours and was printed at Protolabs’ 3D printing facility in North Carolina, one of the largest in the world.

Nina Dobrev wore a custom Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs bustier. The bustier is a clear printed dress with 4-piece assembly for custom fit. The interior is designed to perfectly match Nina Dobrev’s 3D re-creation. The bustier is made of Somos Watershed XC 11122 plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. It is finished by wet hand sanding and sprayed with a clear coat to give it a glass appearance. The printing and finish of the bustier took over 200 hours and was printed at Protolabs’ 3D printing facility in Germany.

Katie Holmes wore a custom Zac Posen gown with a Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs palm leaf collar accessory. The pearlescent purple palm leaves are draped over the shoulders and attached to the gown at the neckline. The palm leaves are made of Accura 60 plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The structure is finished with pearlescent purple paint (Pantone 8104C) and holds the custom Zac Posen water colored tulle gown at the clavicle. The printing and finish of the palm leaves took over 56 hours and was printed at Protolabs in North Carolina.

Julia Garner wore a custom Zac Posen ombré silver to gold lamé gown with a Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs headpiece. The intricate printed vine headpiece with leaf and berry embellishments is printed as a single piece and made of Nylon 12 plastic and printed on a Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) machine. The headpiece is finished by brass plating. The printing and finish of the headdress took over 22 hours and was printed at Protolabs in North Carolina.

Deepika Padukone wore a custom Zac Posen metallic pink lurex jacquard gown. This gown includes Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs embroidery which have been sewn on. The embroidery is made of Accura 5530 plastic and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The embroidery is vacuum metalized, and center painted with Pantone 8081 C. These 408 delicately printed embroidery pieces are attached to the outside of the custom gown. The printing and finish of the embroideries took over 160 hours and was printed at Protolabs in North Carolina.

In addition, Zac Posen and his other guests are also incorporating 3D printed accessories to their evening wear;

Zac Posen wore a Brooks Brothers made-to-measure purple velvet shawl collar dinner jacket and black tuxedo pant with coordinating pink vest, tuxedo shirt and bow tie. He also wore Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs palm leaf brooches. These lapel brooches are designed to mimic the larger palm leaf in a scaled down design and are made of high resolution Accura 5530 printed on stereolithography (SLA) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) machines. The brooches are finished in pearlescent purple and gold paint.

Andrew Garfield wore a Brooks Brothers made-to-measure blue tailcoat with coordinating light blue vest, dress shirt, and bow tie. He will also be wearing Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs Rose cuff links. These cuff links will be a dramatic red and gold which will represent a scaled down version of the rose gown, with Zac Posen’s logo integrated into the design. The rose cuff links are made of Microfine green material and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The cuff links are finished with color changing red and gold paint.

Vito Schnabel wore a Brooks Brothers made-to-measure navy velvet peak lapel dinner jacket with white dress shirt, black bow tie and black tuxedo pant. He will also be wearing Zac Posen x GE Additive x Protolabs Rose cuff links. These cuff links will be a dramatic red and gold which will represent a scaled down version of the rose gown with Zac Posen’s logo integrated into the design. The rose cuff links are made of Microfine green material and printed on a stereolithography (SLA) machine. The cuff links are finished with color changing red and gold paint.

Collaboration & the power of 3D Printing

Fashion designers traditionally use hand-drawn sketches, before draping fabric on a mannequin to form and shape their creations. By combining conceptual thinking, tried and tested techniques from fashion design, computer aided design and 3D printing, the collaboration with GE Additive and Protolabs has resulted in a range of garments that are unprecedented for House of Z, if not for the entire fashion industry.

3D printing offers unique capabilities, such as near-complete design freedom, enabling the manufacture of designs that would have been difficult to achieve using other traditional methods of fashion design.

The majority of the garments were manufactured at Protolabs’ US additive manufacturing facility near Raleigh, North Carolina, while the bustier was made in Protolabs’ Feldkirchen, Germany facility. The titanium cage for the rose gown, which provides the structure on which the petals attach, was printed at the GE Additive Technology Center in Cincinnati.

GE Additive and Protolabs have worked closely together for a long time, including formally collaborating on development of 3D printing technology and production processes, so working together on this project was a natural fit.

GE Additive has brought its deep experience in mechanical and industrial design, creative and complex CAD modeling, and additive design for a range of modalities to the collaboration.

Protolabs has brought its wealth of industry expertise across a wide range of manufacturing processes, materials and industries. Its expertise in high-quality 3D printing and additive manufacturing spans both polymer and metal technologies along with numerous custom finishing options. Custom finishing was of particular interest to Zac Posen’s team, given the custom polishing and painting work that was performed on all the pieces, including the rose gown.

What might seem like an unlikely collaboration of design engineers and Zac Posen – one of the fashion industry’s leading lights, at the forefront of innovation – in fact makes complete sense when you consider the transformative impact 3D printing is having on our everyday lives.