When Fashion Meets Technology, You Can Wear Your Tweets
The Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, in her 2010 collection “Crystallization,” was the first person to send a 3-D-printed haute couture garment down the runway. A top assembled from nine scalloped, shell-like sections cantilevered over the model’s shoulders and chest like a futuristic shield. That high-tech piece, printed layer by layer from polyamide, is one of many being presented as wearable sculpture in “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion,” through May 15 at the High Museum in Atlanta.
The show, the museum’s first foray into displaying fashion, is also the first solo museum exhibition in the United States devoted to Ms. van Herpen. She is at the forefront of a wave of designers integrating new technology — like 3-D printing, laser cutting and digital knitting and weaving — into traditional hand processes to achieve radical shapes, new materials and clothes that respond to the body itself.
Museums are clearly paying attention to the impact of technology on fashion, with “#techstyle” on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through July 10, and “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on May 5. The design curator Ron Labaco has witnessed a wider institutional acceptance of this trend just since he included a few digitally produced works of fashion in his 2013 exhibition “Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
When Mr. Labaco was organizing that show, he said he was told by a director of a European fashion museum, “There isn’t enough significant movement in the direction of digital fabrication in fashion to even warrant a chapter in the catalog.”