Fashion designer Iris van Herpen is one of the pioneers of 3D-printed couture, and her designs are anything but ordinary. Her clothing integrates not just 3D printing, but interactive elements as well, such as clothing that is designed to amplify body movements, or garments that respond to touch with sound.

Her latest collection, Quaquaversal (a word that means heading outwards from a central point in all directions), was unveiled during Paris Fashion Week on October 6.

The Spring/Summer 2016 collection, van Herpen said, was inspired by living tree bridges in India, the juncture where nature and architecture combine.

“The beautiful potential of plants and other organisms to form living architecture inspired me to make a collection that is tangled like a maze around the body,” she wrote on her website.

Gwendoline Christie as the centrepiece to Iris van Herpen’s Paris Fashion Week show.
Iris van Herpen

“Inspiration came from the way plants and their roots grow, and how roots have been used to grow living bridges in the forests of India. This tradition of growing bridges inspired me to re-envision my process of making a garment.”

The collection included lace in many forms: silver lace, nude lace, leather lace and transparent lace, embellished with Swarovski ceramic stones and crystal gems. Meanwhile, the shoes were created in collaboration with London-based shoe designer Finsk, and were built upon a thin spine to convey the illusion of walking on the air.

While models took to the runway wearing the collection, the centrepiece of the show was actor Gwendoline Christie, known for her work as Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Captain Phasma in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.”

As she lay on a raised platform, a circular dress, or quaquaversal, was woven upon her body. This live process, the website states, involved a combination of 3D printing, laser cutting and hand weaving. Artist Jolan van der Wiel grew the three sculptural forms that loomed over Christie, interlacing the mesh that spread around her.

“Van Herpen’s work reveals the secret structures of our existence giving us a multidimensional experience of what it is to be alive, it is an investigation into the past, present and future in all its primal and mythological forms,” Christie, who has previously modelled for Vivienne Westwood, said.

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Gwendoline Christie gets 3D printed into a futuristic gown