There’s a lot of things we love about the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, but if we’re being completely honest…the wings take the cake. Sure, the outfits are cool and the stage setups are wild and the performances aren’t half-bad, but the one thing I’m always left in awe by are the wings.
Tall ones, short ones, sparkly ones, dark ones, the wings are without a doubt the crowning glory of the VS fashion show. Each and every pair is unique, and each and every pair is uniquely crafted by some of the greatest artists using the greatest technology the modern world has to offer. Turns out this technology happens to include something you wouldn’t really expect: MRI.
The 2014 Victoria’s Secret fashion show was a big one. For the first time in history, designers used MRI technology and 3-d printing to create the wings for one of the show’s most popular looks: Lindsay Ellingson’s whimsical, lace-patterned bodice and wings.
The designers had a very distinct vision for Lindsay’s outfit. They wanted something that looked light, delicate, and lacy. The problem? They also needed the material to be structured and unbreakable, made out of a super strong material. Add the fact that it needed to essentially be molded to Lindsay’s body for the look to be right, and you’ll see that the designers really had their work cut out for them. They knew they’d need to do something different for this outfit, to use a type of technology and techniques they’d never tried before.
The solution was found in the medical community. Designers teamed up with architect Bradley Rothenberg to design the pattern for Ellingson’s outfit. They used an algorithm to create the lacy pattern, mimicking the shape of snowflakes. The pattern was then brought to life by Shapeways using 3-D printing, a technology that up till this point had been used almost exclusively for medical purposes. Awesome, right?
But what’s even more interesting than the fact that the outfit was 3-D printed is the fact that the whole thing was designed to fit specifically to the shape of Ellingson’s body. Before designing and printing the outfit, designers used MRI technology to take a full-body scan of the model’s body. This helped them get precise measurements for her body, and they were able to design an outfit that was essentially molded to her body.
The final look was absolutely breath-taking, not to mention a pretty big moment in history. Although it’s hard to say for sure whether Victoria’s Secret will begin to use this as a standard technique when designing all of their outfits for the fashion shows going forward, we did notice that a few of this year’s looks seemed pretty similar to Ellingson’s 3-D printed one from 2014. Who would’ve thought that MRI and 3-D printing, two very clinical types of technology that are pretty common in the medical community, would play a role in creating the outfits for something like the VS fashion show? Either way, we think it’s awesome.
You can read more about the process on Wired, where we got all the awesome photos included in this blog post!