At last night’s Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games opening ceremony, snowboarder Amy Purdy’s running blades weren’t the only high-tech element of her performance.
Purdy, who danced a solo with an industrial robot named KUKA, wore a 3-D-printed dress created by Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg. The dance was conceived to explore the relationship between humans and technology, so it’s fitting that the dress was printed using desktop printers.
Peleg was inspired by Purdy’s battle with meningitis at 19, after which she lost both of her legs. The story is like a rebirth, Peleg said, so her inspiration was Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” She also added diamond shapes from the painting’s composition, while the nude color is that of Venus.
This was her first time dressing an athlete or a dancer, so she used a soft material called FilaFlex printed in a lacelike textile that moved and bounced as Purdy danced. It took approximately 120 hours to print the dress.
The custom dress is part of Peleg’s latest collection. For her 2015 graduate collection, Peleg was the first to design and 3-D print an entire ready-to-wear collection. She said that 3-D printing is “liberating because the designer’s imagination is the only constraint. As the technology evolves and materials and printers improve, designers will find a lot of freedom in this technique.”
Purdy won second place on season 18 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” She said the material of the dress, while not entirely ideal for dancing, moved amazingly. “For being such an architectural piece, it actually has a lot of movement. After this, it should hang in a museum.”
Eventually, Purdy said, she thinks fabrics will progress to become softer and more wearable. “I think the designs and creativity are limitless with 3-D-printed clothing. I’ve been telling Danit it would be perfect on a red carpet or for the Met Ball — but I would need an invite first.”
(Photo: Marina Ribas)