the spray-on dress that broke the internet


illustration by abby wilson

Creating a new meaning behind “fast fashion,” Coperni cofounders Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer made history during Paris Fashion Week this season. Together, they made art with the fusion of fashion and technology. The Spring 2023 show last week was saturated with viral moments. From their coveted Swipe bag in solid gold, holographic floral garments and a spray-painted dress on the beloved Bella Hadid, this collection was the zenith of PFW.

Coperni has been producing Parisian ready-to-wear and accessories since 2013. Their work is forged with a linear sensibility that fuses meticulous origami-like technique with a neat, ‘sportif’ silhouette, composing their former experience in the Balenciaga and Chanel studios. Meyer and Vaillant have been primarily motivated by emerging fashion and craftsmanship with science. The brand name itself came from mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. In an interview with Dazed magazine, Meyer stated, “He revolutionized astronomy and we were inspired by that.” Aspiring to create wearable technology since 2015, Coperni designers collaborated with technology company Fabrican to make this aspiration a reality.

Paris Fashion Week was held in its usual setting at the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping mall set in the heart of the city. To end the evening, Coperni showcased its SS2023 collection juxtaposing innovation and elegance. The breadth of the collection included low-rise khaki cargo pants and a pinstripe halter vest; A model-off-duty look we’ve seen on famous faces such as Bella and Gigi Hadid. Embroidered floral print glass dresses and two piece sets lit up the Louvre on their journey down the runway.

The signature Swipe bag also made an appearance, entirely made out of solid gold, worth a whopping 100,000 euros. Right after the show, the bag was melted and sold back to its Italian supplier to be remade for future resale, a process that can be deemed as sustainable with its ability to be infinitely transformed into different works of art.

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Coperni’s finale also included a similar idea when they created a dress out of a can. For its closing look, Hadid walked onto an illuminated platform wearing nothing but flesh-colored underwear. CEO of Fabrican, Manel Torres then proceeded to spray what first appeared as a white silly string onto her body. According to Torres, “After wearing, it can be removed and turned back into a solution, ready for reuse.”

The dress was finished by Charlotte Raymond, the label’s head of design, who stepped onstage and delicately manipulated the neckline into off-the-shoulder sleeves while it was still drying and then cut a slit at the bottom of the dress. Within nine minutes, Coperni created a dress that made fashion history. Since the show last week, everyone’s been wondering how this liquid transformed into a piece of wearable fabric. Well, it comes down to Fabrican’s patented technology.

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As described in the company’s patent, liquid fabrics consist of a mixture of liquid polymers, additives, binders like natural latex, and natural and synthetic fibers, with the addition of a fast-evaporating solvent like acetone. There are various types of fibers, including polyester, cotton, linen and wool. The spray-on fabric transforms into a stretchy, suede-like material when it comes into contact with air. In a TedTalk from 2013, Torres explains how the material can be structured around 3D molds and textured in a variety of ways, so it can look like fleece, paper, lace or rubber. He envisioned people going into a booth, customizing their dress, and instantly having it 3D printed on them.

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As a self-described “geek,” Meyer discovered Fabrican when browsing the internet. About six months before the collection’s launch, he began working with Torres. Even though it was initially developed for the fashion industry, the technology can also be applied to healthcare sectors, according to Fabrican. This includes the production of face masks, protective garments, casts and bandages.

The virality of this dress propelled the French label into mainstream media making the brand recognizable by fashion enthusiasts all around the world. “It’s our duty as designers to try new things and show a possible future. We’re not going to make money on this, but it’s a beautiful moment – an experience that creates emotion,” Meyer told Vogue Business. Not only was this an unforgettable moment for them, but also for Hadid. “I think that was the best moment of my life,” she said after closing the show. Coperni has proven that they’re just as innovative as they are fashionable through their ability to merge fashion with science.

With that said, this definitely won’t be the last time the brand breaks the internet.

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.