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13th October 2022

Coperni’s spray-on dress: A revolution or a gimmick?

Can Coperni’s spray-on dress really be considered revolutionary in this day ad age? We take a look at the history and sentiment behind the design

The most recent Fashion Month has seen many an innovation, with some designs seeming gimmicky as opposed to revolutionary. With Moschinos inflatables, Botters condom gloves, and Guccis runway hosting sixty-eight pairs of identical twins, it seemed that there was little else left to surprise the audience with. However, Coperni pulled off the impossible.

When at the end of their show, model Bella Hadid came onto the runway wearing nothing but nude underwear. She then waited nearly nine minutes while a dress was sprayed onto her body.

Dr Manuel Torres’ Fabrican was used to create Bellas minimalist yet chic white slip dress. Torres used his experience after having studied Fashion at Londons Royal College of Art to patent his technology which he says was inspired by silly string – “I thought I could create a mist” the creator stated.

From there, Torres developed the tech which creates clothes using a non-woven layer of fabric. The Fabrican liquid is sprayed onto a surface and instantly evaporates when it comes into contact with it.


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A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)


The possibilities are almost endless with Fabrican – it can be used to produce a range of fabrics including cotton, linen, and nylon.  Meanwhile, the Fabrican clothes themselves can be washed and re-worn or converted back into a solution afterwards. Moreover, the implications extend beyond those in the fashion world. Fabrican can be used in the medical industry too to create bandages and casts.

Although most people would not have dreamed of seeing a dress be birthed and come to life on the runway, Coperni are all about technology and progress. The fashion house was founded in 2019 by now-newlyweds Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer. They named the fashion house after the Renaissance-era astronomer Copernicus and the couple have brought a lot to the table with their futuristic designs.

In their SS23 show alone there were Matrixinspired clip-on sunglasses and exaggerated silhouettes with square shoulders. Meyer commented that the latter designs “actually came from the characters you see in the online game Roblox.”

All jokes aside, Vaillant said that Bellas dress was all about a celebration of womens silhouettes from centuries pastand updating their aesthetic in a more grown-up and scientific way.”

This was certainly achieved as the supermodels Instagram post showcasing the futuristic and magical dress garnered 2.8 million likes and went viral overnight. Copernis efforts, although seemingly revolutionary, were not in fact not the first of their kind.


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A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)

The show drew parallels to a variety of historic fashion moments such as Hussein Chalayans dissolving clothing in Spring Summer 2016, Martin Margielas Spring Summer 2006 coloured ice cube accessories and Fredrik Tjaerandsens giant deflating balloons in his 2019 graduate collection.

However, the most notable inspiration was Alexander McQueens Spring 1999 show in which model Shalom Harlows pristine white dress was aggressively spray painted by robots. McQueen’s show emphasised the violence directed towards the materials and people used when creating designs. Coperni designers deny any homage to Alexander McQueen, claiming that their dress is a completely different concept.

However, the similarities to McQueen’s work do raise questions about the meaning behind their dress. Vaillant said that Bellas dress was a celebration of womens silhouettes from centuries past. But, as Rachel Tashjian argues in Harpers Bazaar, the dress could be seen as a statement about how often women are manipulating themselves to accommodate the ideas of men. The presence of a nearly nude Bella Hadid on stage coupled with two men spray painting her body for 15 minutes was certain to create a viral moment. This viral moment came at the end of a fairly forgettable collection which seems to suggest that, as Vogue Business notes, the spray-on dress was part of a successful marketing strategy. The media impact of the event itself was measured at 26.3 million dollars and the spectacle is sure to have captured the attention of young luxury consumers across the world.

Despite this, Copernis use of Fabrican is certainly revolutionary due to the showcasing of sustainable materials and new technology on the runway. Hopefully, the success of Copernis show will influence other designers to place such a huge emphasis on reusable and environmentally friendly materials.

Written by Imogen Mingos and Catherine Rowe-Kosary 

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