Last night we saw worlds collide at the Rio Paralympic Summer Games opening ceremony as U.S. paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy performed an amazing dance wearing a stunning 3D printed dress designed by none other than Danit Peleg, one of our favorite 3D printed fashion designers. The dance, which Purdy performed with an industrial robot named KUKA, was meant to explore the relationship between humans and technology, a fitting theme, especially for the Paralympic Games.
36-year-old Purdy, who won second place on ABC’s 18th season of Dancing with the Stars, contracted a form of bacterial meningitis at the age of 19, which resulted in the loss of both her legs. The disability did not stop her, however, as she began snowboarding again just 7 months after receiving her prosthetic legs. Now, nearly two decades later, the athlete has achieved more than most and even took home a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. It is no wonder then, that she was enlisted to help ring in the 2016 Rio games with an unforgettable performance.
Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg, for her part, was touched by Purdy’s life story and drew inspiration from it for her dress design, which was entirely made using a desktop 3D printer. As the designer explains, Purdy’s story recalled that of rebirth and so took her aesthetic inspiration for the dress from Botticelli’s famous The Birth of Venus painting. That is, the dress’ diamond patterns evoke the painting’s composition (seen below), and the nude color is meant to reflect Venus’ own naked body.
“I loved the idea of creating a dress for Amy Purdy, a beautifully strong woman who is also a double-leg amputee,” says Peleg on her blog. “With an incredibly strong character and the help of technology Amy can walk, become a Paralympic medalist, dance with the stars, and now dance at this incredibly moving ceremony!”
The dress itself was 3D printed out of the soft and almost lacelike FilaFlex filament, which Peleg hoped would allow for the athlete to move around freely on the stage, flowing with her graceful dance moves. Like Peleg’s other garments, the dress was printed using a desktop 3D printer and took about 120 hours to print. The 3D printer Peleg used was the latest version of the Witbox 3D printer, and the dress itself was modeled using Accumark and Blender.
Purdy said of dancing with the 3D printed dress: “For being such an architectural piece, it actually has a lot of movement. After this it should hang in a museum.” The athlete also mentioned that she thinks the potentials for 3D printed fashion are vast, especially as materials continue to be developed and improved. “I think the designs and creativity are limitless with 3D printed clothing. I’ve been telling Danit it would be perfect on a red carpet or for the Met Ball—but I would beed an invite first,” she added.
Danit Peleg, who we wrote about last year for her stunning and fully 3D printed ready-to-wear collection, said that the dress is part of her latest collection. As she says on her blog, “As I was working on [Purdy’s] dress, I was so inspired by this segment that I decided to expand on the dress to a full collection of 5 looks.” This new collection will reportedly be unveiled within the next few weeks.