Looking through this year's Met Gala outfits, it’s reasonable to wonder how some of the more intricate designs seem to be so perfectly moulded to each attendee’s silhouette.

The answer isn’t miracle tailoring or high-end design secrets, but a fashion trick borrowed from the tech world: 3D printing.

Fashion designer Zac Posen used 3D printing technology to create outfits for celebrities including Nina Dobrev, Katie Holmes, Jourdan Dunn, Deepika Padukone and Julia Garner.

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Actor Dobrev, best known for her roles on The Vampire Diaries and Degrassi: The Next Generation, wore a short flared dress with a strapless bodice, made out of what appeared to be a structured, glossy, translucent material.

Posen told Glamour that it was designed to mimic "a glass slipper, perfume bottle, rock crystal interpreted through my draping. It takes you into a surreal futuristic fantasy".

He continued: "I wanted a creation that was light and felt like I was floating."

According to Dobrev, the fitting involved being scanned by a 3D camera while wearing a latex bodysuit. She said the process was repeated on six occasions, but only took about a minute and half. “It was a pretty futuristic concept,” she commented.

Nina Dobrev's dress took 1,100 hours to print (REUTERS)

Posen said he’s wanted to work with 3D printers for a long time, and was able to execute his vision thanks to a partnership with GE Additive and Protolabs, two digital manufacturing companies.

The project had been a year in the making. Not long after the 2018 Met Gala, Posen flew to Pittsburgh to see a GE printing facility and learn about the different materials and see the SLA machines used for the process.

The designer told CNBC: “Then I started to learn with different materials what was possible, what’s not possible. And really the answer is, almost everything is possible.”

Model Jourdan Dunn’s 30-pound “rose gown” featured 37 individual petals took more than 1,100 hours (more than 45 days) to print.

Speaking about her dress, Dunn told The New York Times: “I’ve worn nothing like this before. It feels like I’m wearing art that is very expensive and very hefty.”

Also on Posen’s table wearing 3D printed ensembles were Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, whose pink gown featured more than 400 embroidery pieces which were vacuum metalized and painted; Katie Holmes in a purple gown with a palm leaves collar piece; and The Americans actor Julia Garner who wore a headpiece also printed on the same SLA machine.

Posen has attended the gala every year since 1997, when he interned at the Costume Institute, but this was the first year he bought a table, we reportedly costs between $200,000 and $300,000 (£152,000 to £229,000).

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