Sometimes it seems like every day, a startling new practical application for the sci-fi-worthy technology behind 3D-printing comes to light. This week, it’s in high fashion. Monday, Dutch designer Iris van Herpen (the woman behind some of Björk’s more memorable recent outfits) debuted the above two 3D-printed outfits, a dress and cape/skirt combo.
This isn’t the first time van Herpen has debuted 3D-printed clothing–she did it in 2010 and again in 2011–but these designs are infinitely closer to the mainstream than the beautifully geometric avant-garde items she’s produced in the past. The printing technique transcends the “wow” factor, opening new aesthetic doors for the artist. Apparently, the secret this time around is in the ability to print with hard and soft materials in tandem. “The ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a ‘second skin’ for the body acting as armour-in-motion,” she said. “In this way we were able to design not only the garment’s form but also its motion.”