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Designer inspired by Iceland creates holographic dress with a photo printer

Fashion photographers often shoot the runway, but a dress collection by Yuima Nakazato actually brought photography onto the catwalk. Earlier on Monday, Fujifilm shared the story behind the unique dresses created with a wide-format photo printer and even boots made from images of Iceland.

The dresses are hand folded — not unlike a flock of origami cranes — but the collection’s characteristic holograph-like appearance is created by a Fujifilm Acuity Select 20 wide-format UV printer.

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Nakazato starts those folded pieces with a film-like material. The printer is used to print images of icebergs and auras onto the holographic material. The designer said few inks will adhere to the special material, which made getting the the dress’ light-catching materials just right a tough task.

“I had always wanted to expand the expressive range of holograms, but as the surfaces of films are extremely smooth, there was always an issue of getting the ink to adhere even if you could print on the film,” Nakazato said. “What’s more, as we’re using this material for fashion, there is a lot of friction and it needs to be extremely robust. Through the technology that Fujifilm have contributed to this project, they have shown that their ink fixes extremely well and that if, after printing, you cut the material with a plotter or form it into units by hand, there are no problems such as ink detachment and robustness is extremely high.”

More than 1,000 hand folded pieces are assembled onto each dress without a loom, fabric or stitching.

The designer also created boots with the same materials, printing images of icebergs from Iceland onto the holographic material.

According to Fujifilm, the holographic fabric could initially only use four different colors. By collaborating with the designer, the imaging giant was able to develop a new method using Uvijet KV ink to expand the possible colors. That same printing technology is used for automobiles, smartphone cases and even vending machines, Fujifilm says.

With the dresses, Nakazato was the first official Japanese guest designer to participate in the Paris Haute Couture Collection in over a decade. The designer’s shimmery, futuristic gowns may look rather different — especially when some models use prosthetics for longer arms — but they add to his unique line including costumes designed for Lady Gaga, Madonna, and the Black-Eyed Peas.