From spray-on dresses to robots, Coperni continues to showcase innovation
Faced with the challenge of outdoing the success and exceeding the millions of likes on Instagram of the brand's unforgettable spray-on dress worn by Bella Hadid, Coperni had its work cut out for it. On Friday evening, March 3, all eyes in the fashion industry were on the creative duo of Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, who had to prove to the world that they wouldn't die a success or fall short after their last show, which many described as "historic."
The high bar set by the challenge didn't seem to daunt the creators behind the brand founded in Paris in 2013, who brought together an exclusive handful of guests in a dark room at the Théatre National de Chaillot, located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. A disconcerting audio presentation of Jean de La Fontaine's fable The Wolf and the Lamb opened the show, with an expectant audience ready to be surprised.
Rather than a model, it was none other than a yellow, four-legged robot in the shape of a futuristic dog, bearing the logo of the American engineering company Boston Dynamics, that opened the show. A few seconds later, a host of identical robots poured in, walking energetically as if they were dancing or playing.
The first look of the show was a simple black suit, slightly fitted at the waist and understated so as not to steal the limelight from the "Spot" robots that were still capturing the attention of all the cameras in the room. Subdued black garments and ruffled or hooded mini-dresses followed, as well as blazers and pencil skirts in marbled grey or minimalist looks consisting of low-cut white blouses and shirts rolled up under short-sleeved black knitted jumpers. A couple of long draped dresses adorned with mini silver sculptures in the shape of emojis stood out. They also served as brooches attached to the chest of many looks, which were almost always finished off with a purse in hand.
The models acted as docile lambs in the first part of the show, which remained fairly subdued until one of the highlights of the show, when one of the five robots engaged in conversation with red-haired model Rianne Van Rompaey. A choreographed sequence, under the watchful eye of flashbulbs, concluded with the robot ripping off her black wrap-around jacket. The dialogue between technology and humans continued when model Lila Moss, daughter of iconic British supermodel Kate Moss, handed her handbag to the same robot, who handed it back to her as she walked past again.
True to their techno and minimalist style, designers Meyer and Vaillant presented more daring and casual looks, such as oversized structured coats, ripped jeans, silver dresses, tops, white fur skirts and mini-dresses, while faster-paced music played in the background. Some of the show's most lauded accessories included a revamped rubber version of the 'Bridge' boot as well as a new interpretation of the viral 'Swipe' handbag previously made of "Instagrammable" glass, but this time created from a meteorite that fell in the south of France 55,000 years ago,
The fall/winter 2023 collection also featured a mirrored dress created in collaboration with the Les Arts Décoratifs fashion school and a jacket hand-painted from an image created by artificial intelligence. It was a resounding yes to innovation at Coperni, striking the difficult balance between virality, commercial potential and marketable designs in one of the brandi's most mature collections to date.
"Unlike the original fable, written in the 17th century, which raises questions about the balance of power between the human groups that make up society, Coperni reinterprets the story and moves it to the year 2023 with a positive vision of the future," explained the brand about its modern interpretation of the story that explores "the relationship between human beings and technology". For the Parisian firm, "there is no dominant or dominated, but rather man and machine living in harmony." This positive philosophy and an open-minded approach to innovation has been adopted by Coperni since its inception.
The evening show closed with a "carrousel" of models circling around the five robots, who kneeled down as the designer duo emerged. The humans behind their movements unveiled their faces from the shadows and were applauded by the audience, who nevertheless remained in their seats for several minutes hoping that Coperni still had more surprises in store.
"This is the first collaboration we have had in the fashion industry. Our robots are typically used in the technology industries and we are against weaponisation or military applications of similar robots," one of the Boston Dynamics managers told FashionNetwork.com, revealing that it is possible to purchase one of the robots, which can be controlled by a touch screen, for the small price of $100,000.
The idea was a good one and managed to seduce the audience, as well as the thousands of likes that followed one after the other on social media, which were still nowhere near the number of likes received by Bella Hadid's legendary moment of last season. However, if one could add a but to the performance, it would be the inevitable frigidity that comes with highly calculated "moments" created by and for social media. The day Coperni manages to combine visionary talent with spontaneity, its allure will be spectacular.
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