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Dita Von Teese Stuns in First Fully-Articulated 3-D Printed Dress: How’d They Make It?

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Dita in 3-D. (WhoSay.com)

As if Dita Von Teese in 2-D wasn’t enough!

The burlesque star modeled the first fully-articulated 3-D printed gown at New York City’s Ace Hotel on Monday night … and it required the latest technology to bring it to life.

Designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitonti made the entire gown virtually. Schmidt, who is responsible for Lady Gaga’s infamous bubble dress, first mocked up the dress on his iPad and then communicated with Bitonti via Skype to figure out how to make all 17 pieces and 3,000 joints work together to move freely with the body.

Once that was devised, the two went to 3-D printing design studio Shapeways to print each of the pieces, which Schmidt and Bitonti then lacquered black and embellished with 13,000 Swarovski crystals … a drop in the bucket for their muse. "That's not much in my world,” Von Teese, 40, joked on Monday at the big unveiling. “I'm used to having that many on my wrist.”

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The 3-D frock, which took three months to make and was created specifically for the brunette beauty’s voluptuous body, is also much lighter than the outfits she’s used to wearing. Each of the 17 pieces is hollow, totaling in 11.5 pounds of material … a good 70 pounds lighter than the average Von Teese getup.

“We definitely wanted an exaggerated shape,” she explained. “When people ask if it's comfortable I say, 'Well, I like exaggerated shapes so the corseting is nice and tight.' The only thing I was super aware of was my heel getting stuck in the hem, but that didn't happen."

Although the 3-D creation – with its mesh-looking material and voluminous sleeves – may seem futuristic in its look and design, Schmidt insists it’s all Von Teese. “It was made to be an extension of her persona rendered through these futuristic means," he explained. "It's still in keeping with her old-world glamour."

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Now that Von Teese has debuted the 3-D gown, it will next go on display at Swarovski before rotating between a few different museums.

But it will never be worn by another person again. "No other woman but Dita will ever wear this dress,” insisted Schmidt.

Not that they could, retorted Von Teese, "I'd like to see 'em try."

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