The cult label that went viral: Why Coperni is taking the fashion world by storm
What is so interesting about this small French fashion brand that is getting so much exposure and captivating fashion insiders, celebrities, influencers?
Who could forget that viral moment from the recent instalment of Paris Fashion Week, where Bella Hadid had a dress spray-painted onto her body right on the Coperni spring/summer ’23 runway in front of an intrigued audience? According to WWD, the media impact of the spectacle was valued at US$26.3 million (S$37.2 million), a figure released by Launchmetrics, a company that specialises in measuring brand performance.
Not only did this mark an innovative moment in fashion, it certainly also threw the spotlight right at the fashion brand behind it (as well as the company it worked with, Fabrican Ltd, which created the spray-on fabric technology). The Parisian label is not exactly a new kid on the block, although many – excepting fashion insiders, that is – may not be all that familiar with it, even if one has seen its name mentioned in mainstream news media.
In the fashion scene, however, the brand has become a hot favourite of the biggest trendsetters among Hollywood celebrities, supermodels and influencers, which explains why it’s quickly gained a cult brand status.
A DYNAMIC FRENCH DUO
The talents behind the label are Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, who both are fashion students – Meyer majored in fashion design and Vaillant studied fashion business – and came together to start Coperni in 2013. Shortly after that, the duo’s evident talent was quickly spotted by French fashion house Courrèges, who promptly made them its creative directors.
Following this appointment, they decided to put Coperni on hiatus and only relaunched it in 2019, which, as we all know, is not a great time for the entire fashion industry with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, the brand pushed through the challenges that it brought, being one to embrace technology.
This fascination with technology and the future is reflected in the brand’s unique aesthetic, which, according to its founders, combines a futuristic and linear sensibility, made wearable for the modern woman. The name Coperni, is taken from the Renaissance astronomer Copernicus – a choice taken to show that the label is inspired by science, progress and innovation.
THE BAG THAT BROKE THE INTERNET
Before the viral spray-on dress, there was the viral glass bag. A totally unexpected and literally fragile twist on the brand’s signature Swipe bag – so named because of its resemblance to the iPhone’s "swipe to unlock” icon, apparently – it swiftly became the most talked-about fashion accessory of this year, thus far, when rapper Doja Cat paraded a powder-blue version of it on the red carpet at the 2022 Grammys.
The clear bottom half of the bag meant that the contents of her bag – a few pieces of candy that were wrapped in gold foil – were visible, which seemed to add to the amusement that the unusual accessory provided.
Of course, no bag is worthy of It status without having been seen on multiple celebrities. Singer Tinashe carried a red version on the same Grammys red carpet, then Kylie Jenner showed off her entirely see-through version of the glass Swipe bag, which came with devil horns atop its handle as a playful accent, at a press event. Again, much attention was drawn to what she toted around in it – two lip products from her line of makeup, which succeeded in bringing the brand a ton of free publicity.
These bags are not easy to come by back then, of course – they are handcrafted (in collaboration with Coperni) by glassware artists at Heven, which specialises in unique art pieces, and are currently available on a limited made-to-order basis via Coperni’s website. It’s true that they aren’t exactly the most practical of handbags, but – guess what – they actually can double as a decorative conversation piece at home as well.
THAT FABRICAN DRESS
A little gimmicky it may be, admittedly, but choreographing the whole process of spraying on and finessing the dress and putting on this show on the runway (with the aid of an almost-naked Bella Hadid at that) undeniably helped Coperni achieve maximum exposure with this unusual display of fabric technology.
Named Fabrican, the spray utilises a polymer liquid that evaporates on contact with skin and contains fabric fibres. The product is not a brand-new invention and has been in existence for almost a decade, which further shows how the right product, coupled with creative presentation and a collaboration with a fashion brand of the moment that sees its potential, can create an event that blew up the Internet in an instant.
Even if the spray-on dress can’t exactly be sold as a Coperni piece, the whole exercise is an indication of more unexpected surprises to come from the label and the direction it is moving in.
STYLE THAT’S FORWARD-LOOKING
Clearly, going viral has much to do with the brand’s popularity, on top of its solid A-list celebrity following – the brand is often worn by famous stylish folks including Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Rosalia, Hailey Bieber, the Hadid sisters, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
One style element that has consistently been used in its collections and is now identifiable as a trademark of the label is the twisted cutout, which has featured prominently on its tops and dresses. The Swipe bag, made of glass or not, is obviously a Coperni icon by now, and is expected to be a perennial signature that will continue to enjoy It-bag status – until the brand comes up with another bag that makes an equivalent impact and statement, we think.
It’s hard to pin down the Coperni aesthetic with just a few words but it’s safe to say that it has captured the fashion mood that the youthful fashion set is seeking right at this moment. The Coperni woman is always chic, yet isn’t afraid to make an edgy style statement or put on something sexy on the right occasion, and, like the brand, looks towards the future for inspiration.