Fitting a 3D-printed headpiece on a model before a live show
Fitting a 3D-printed headpiece on a model before a live show
Paul Laubacher

PARISElegance is the watch word here, as a young model walks down the aisle, wearing a pair of astonishingly shaped stilettos, its complex patterns reminiscent of certain architectural constructions. The graceful shoes, created by French designer Pierre Renaux, were made entirely with a machine that is on the verge of changing the world, a 3D printer.

“Artists are constantly thinking about how they can use technology,” explains Kerry Hogarth, founder and president of 3DPrintshow, an exhibition hosted late last year in Paris. “And with 3D printers, the possibilities are infinite.”

In the cavernous room of Carrousel du Louvre, dozens of artists and fashion designers exhibited their creations. The show may be the best example of this advanced, but still widely unknown, technology. The Economist has characterized 3D printing as “the third industrial revolution.”

The way it works it pretty straightforward. First, you design a product on a computer. Then you click “Print.” The machine wakes up and starts creating the object, layer upon layer. It’s thus possible to create from scratch or reproduce bionic ears, jewelry, cinema costumes or even cars.

This revolutionary tool is well established in the industry, and it’s changing the way some artists approach their creations. “Many of them are starting to master it,” explains Cosmo Wenman, an adventurer and creator. “Some of the exhibitors used to be traditional sculptors who have now migrated to this technology. It's fascinating and very exciting, even though the cost is still rather prohibitive.”

Wenman’s collection, for example, includes Pericles’ helmet, a portrait of Alexander The Great, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo and even the Colossal bust of Ramesses II, and all sat imposingly in the middle of the exhibition. “With 3D printing, everything’s about the design. The raw material is not as important. What matters is what you create. Designing Pericles' helmet is a good way of showing the visitors what you can do.”

Applied to fashion

Fashion designers are stretching the limits of imagination. A pioneer in the field, Iris van Herpen set the bar very high. For her creations, the Dutch designer prints in 3D the details of a shoulder, a bolero modeled in the shape of a shell or an armor-like corset, before adding one to the other to obtain a unique piece. The precision and the lightness of her dresses/sculptures are mind-blowing.

“I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by new technologies,” says Pierre Renaux, who studied in the Netherlands. “I quickly understood that the bold ‘architectony’ of the ultimate design was only possible with 3D printing. The printer can go deep into details smaller than a cubic millimeter, which allows us to create richer and more complex drawings. This ever-growing precision increases the field of possibilities exponentially.

The material is no longer a constraint, says Renaux. Soon it will be possible to create organic components and fabrics that will be worn like a second skin, elastic and transparent leathers that will protect from both the cold and heat. The possibilities for haute couture and ready-to-wear industries are attractive. The machine will enable young stylists to produce in small quantities, so as to avoid having unsold products and to personalize their creations ad infinitum.

For these designers, the goal today is to simplify the creation of 3D files. The software is still difficult to master, but smartphones and tablets could provide developers with good opportunities to offer simpler solutions. The objective is create apps that will one day enable a consumer to create her own made-to-measure dresses or shoes. Before that, all she’ll need to do is scan her body for exact measurements.

But with this small revolution also come some dangers: The files are very easy to copy. You would only need to scan a dress, a piece of art, or indeed any object to be able to reproduce it at home with your own 3D printer. And even though doing that is still costly, there will need to be a good way to protect artists’ creations. For now, the best way to do that is to make objects public.

“We absolutely must tell and show the world that we’re the first to have created a specific object,” says Merav Griguer, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property. “And the more models designers create, the more difficult they will be to copy.”

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Pro-life and Pro-abortion Rights Protests in Washington

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.

[*Chamorro - Guam]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: South Africa reports a higher rate of reinfections from the Omicron variant than has been registered with the Beta and Delta variants, though researchers await further findings on the effects of the new strain. Meanwhile, the UK approves the use of a monoclonal therapy, known as sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.The approval comes as the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, separately announced the treatment has shown to “retain activity” against the Omicron variant. Down under, New Zealand’s reopening, slated for tomorrow is being criticized as posing risks to its under-vaccinated indigenous Maori.

• Supreme Court poised to gut abortion rights: The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a willingness to accept a Republican-backed Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A ruling, expected in June, may see millions of women lose abortion access, 50 years after it was recognized as a constitutional right in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

• Macri charged in Argentine spying case: Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on the family members of 44 sailors who died in a navy submarine sinking in 2017. The charge carries a sentence of three to ten years in prison. Macri, now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated.

• WTA suspends China tournaments over Peng Shuai: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to concerns about the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and the safety of other players. Peng disappeared from public view after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.

• Michigan school shooting suspect to be charged as an adult: The 15-year-old student accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven other people in a Michigan High School will face charges of terrorism and first-degree murder. Authorities say the suspect had described wanting to attack the school in cellphone videos and a journal.

• Turkey replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed a strong supporter of his low-interest rate drive, Nureddin Nebati, as Turkey’s new finance minister.

• A battle axe for a tail: Chilean researchers announced the discovery of a newly identified dinosaur species with a completely unique feature from any other creatures that lived at that time: a flat, weaponized tail resembling a battle axe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily Joong-ang Ilbo reports on the discovery of five Omicron cases in South Korea. The Asian nation has broken its daily record for overall coronavirus infections for a second day in a row with more than 5,200 new cases. The variant cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria and prompted the government to tighten border controls.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

¥10,000

In the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, a reward of 10,000 yuan ($1,570) will be given to anyone who volunteers to take a COVID-19 test and get a positive result, local authorities announced on Thursday on the social network app WeChat.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why an iconic pharmacy is turning into a sex toy museum

The "New Pharmacy" was famous throughout the St. Pauli district of Hamburg for its history and its long-serving owner. Now the owner’s daughter is transforming it into a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys, linking it with the past "curing" purpose of the shop, reports Eva Eusterhus in German daily Die Welt.

💊 The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner. The two women want to create something new here, something that reflects the pharmacy's history and Hamburg's eclectic St. Pauli quarter (it houses both a red light district and the iconic Reeperbahn entertainment area) as well as their own interests.

🚨 Over the last few months, the pharmacy has been transformed into L'Apotheque, a venture that brings together art and business in St. Pauli's red light district. The back rooms will be used for art exhibitions, while the old pharmacy space will house a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys. Genger and Müllner want to show that desire has always existed and that people have always found inventive ways of maximizing pleasure, even in times when self-gratification was seen as unnatural and immoral, as a cause of deformities.

🏩 Genger and Müllner want the museum to show how the history of desire has changed over time. The art exhibitions, which will also center on the themes of physicality and sexuality, are intended to complement the exhibits. They are planning to put on window displays to give passers-by a taste of what is to come, for example, British artist Bronwen Parker-Rhodes's film Lovers, which offers a portrait of sex workers during lockdown.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never."

— U.S. actor Alec Baldwin spoke to ABC News, his first interview since the accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust last October. The actor said that although he was holding the gun he didn’t pull the trigger, adding that the bullet “wasn't even supposed to be on the property.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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