Everyone in the world follows fashion, albeit conscious or subconscious. We see the runway walks plastered on every social media platform and watch commentary videos on why certain outfits were scandalous or absurd. The whole world seemed to have something to say about the 2022 Met Gala look toted by Kim Kardashian a few months back: a vintage dress worn by Marylin Monroe as she sang ‘happy birthday’ to President JFK in 1962. We all judge, primp and preen over the outfits; beyond that, we pick at the flaws of people who choose to model them like festered, bulging pimples.
The next remarkable fashion look of our century has just happened, and the world is in awe.
On Friday, Coperni’s fashion show started off the weekend for 2022 Paris Fashion Week. The collection that premiered was titled ‘Coperni Femme,’ and according to Vogue, “was an ode to a reconfigured paradigm of femininity.” I can’t speak for the world, but I personally love when the fashion industry redefines itself like this, shining a light on the ways we commodify the body for the sake of fashion. It brings recognition to important issues while still doing the work it needs to do.
The show featured outfits crafted from glass fragments, a solid gold bag (clocking in at around €100,000), and holographic detailings shaped like flowers. However, the most captivating look of the night closed out the show.
Bella Hadid walked out to the middle of the runway wearing a G-string and covering her breasts with her forearm. The room fell silent in fascination. Two men then began spray-painting her body with white paint as she stood beautifully. Her curves and femininity were on full display for these stretching minutes, while they covered her body in the unknown substance. Once they were finished, the men left, followed by a woman who pulled the paint down off Hadid’s shoulders and made a slit near her thigh. The paint, remarkably, moved like fabric; it bunched around Hadid’s shoulders and flowed like tight webbing between her legs, turning into a dress before the crowd’s eyes.
Then, Hadid walked the runway. The paint had fully turned into fabric, fitted perfectly to her body. It moved and swayed with each proud stride she took. The audience (and now, the world) was in awe of the display: a moment in design and fashion that would surely go down in history.
The genius of the dress came from the mind of Dr. Manel Torres, who dreamt of a portable fabric that would spray almost like a silly string, yet web together to make fabric. He developed the idea in a lab at the Imperial College in London. Two years later, in 2003, he had successfully created Fabrican, the key component in Friday’s show: a spay-on fabric made from synthetic and natural fibers.
The look has been trending since its premiere and rightfully so. As a part of Coperni’s ‘Coperni Femme’ show, the look is even more elevated. Hadid’s entrance reeked of vulnerability. She put the whole of herself on display for the crowd and, further than that, for the world. The divine feminine graced Coperni’s stage, shedding light on the industry’s dependence upon the body and its natural beauties. Hadid was as much a part of the look as the Fabrican used, and I believe this was the intention of the designers, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillan. The dress was only a second skin, when you look at it broadly; the physical manifestation of it upon Hadid was what brought it to the masses.
Hadid’s look will go down in history for Coperni, as will the whole night. By leaning into the upcoming generation’s need for awe and wow factors, Coperni pulled out all the stops to balance its message with remarkability. If you have yet to see it, watch the full display of Hadid’s look here.