Ever had one of those days where you just don’t want to be bothered but the rest of the world has other ideas? Where you spend every waking moment pulling your best ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ face but everybody in the office still seems intent on engaging you in mind numbing small-talk?
Well Dutch fashion-tech innovator Anouk Wipprecht certainly has. How else would you explain her latest design, the Smoke Dress? This futuristic body hugger will not only make you look like you just walked off the set of The Fifth Element, it also emits a cloud of smoke whenever anybody enters your personal space.
Unveiled at the world’s biggest car show, the International Motor Show, in Frankfurt last month, the Smoke Dress is equipped with a 530 gram smoke generator between the shoulders, filled with a silicon-based smoke fluid. This is linked to a system of sensors in the fabric of the garment, which notify the generator whenever somebody enters the surrounding area.
When that happens, an ambient burst of smoke is released, surrounding the wearer in a cloudy mist. High brow members of the internet blogging community have referred to it as reminiscent of ‘nymphs frolicking in Neptune’s ice caves’. While we’re sure that’s accurate, we just kept thinking of the confused and panicked look on the office bore’s mug when you spray him with a face-full of smoke before he’s had a chance to start yapping about the weather.
Anyway, what makes this item interesting to the likes of us is the fact that the actual dress itself came out of a 3D printer. Wipprecht teamed up with Belgian 3D printing firm Materialise, who combined the power of its 3-matic STL and Magics software to first create the five different pieces of the dress and then combine them into a file that could be printed with laser sintering.
The material used for the dress is the most fully flexible yet to run through a 3D printer: Polyamide and TPU 92A-1. This both gives the wearer comfortable freedom of movement and has the strength to support the hardware needed to make the device run. Plus, it looks dead futuristic.
Wipprecht has already built up a reputation across the world for her hypnotic and brilliantly conceived designs. Most famously, Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie wore one of her outfits while failing to stay in tune at the 2011 Super Bowl.
Central to Wipprecht’s latest is the idea that a piece of clothing not only affects the body of the wearer but also the space and atmosphere around them. Once again, we see 3D printing making a once-impossible fantasy a stunning reality.