Even those who aren’t into fashion have seen the video. Parisian fashion house Coperni gave us an outfit reveal that even one of the most admired and controversial designers Alexander McQueen would be proud of. I’m talking about the show’s finale and Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress. A moment that has been trending on social media since the 30th of September when Paris Fashion Week took place showcasing the Coperni SS23 collection.
When Innovation Meets Coperni SS23 Fashion
The finale of the Spring Summer 2023 show was beautiful, dramatic and the highlight of this Paris Fashion Week. The reason is the innovative spray-on dress.
At the end of the show, Bella Hadid entered the catwalk in simple skin-coloured underwear. She then stood on a podium and had the liquid fibre sprayed onto her body. The liquid formulated into a white dress that Charlotte Raymond, Coperni’s head of design, cut into a well-tailored gown. The dress was minimalist just like other Coperni SS23 creations. The midi-length gown featured a simplistic off-shoulder neckline and an elegant thigh-high slit. But the true beauty of the piece came from its originality and how naturally it moved when Bella made her way down the catwalk, imitating traditional fabric. It wasn’t just a fashion moment. It was also an unforgettable performance that people still talk about a few weeks later.
The Technology Behind the Spray-On Dress
The idea for the spray-on outfit reminds me of Alexander McQueen’s Spring 1999 show during which Shalom Harlow was spray painted by robotic arms. However, the liquid fibre called Fabrican is a more advanced and relatively new technology that Spanish fashion designer, Manel Torres, created in 2003. The spray is a liquid that contains fibres suspended in a polymer solution. As soon as it comes in contact with air, it turns into a solid material that can be stretched and conforms to any shape it lands on. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the show opened a conversation about the possibilities that combining technology and fashion might result in.
The Question of Sustainability
Despite the initial positive reactions to the Coperni SS23 finale, opinions on it are currently divided. While some fashion enthusiasts have praised the outfit and see the spray-on material as innovative, others think of it as a gimmick that highlights the fashion industry’s focus on the shock factor rather than sustainability and believe it’s not durable enough to replace traditional fabrics.
However, while the concept might seem the complete opposite of a sustainable option, you can actually wash spray-on clothes and re-wear them just like any other fabric. Once you no longer need the outfit, you can return it to its original liquid form and then make it into something new. As for other aspects that we need to consider when it comes to sustainability, Fabrican’s website claims that its technology “uses no ozone-depleting substances.” This sounds promising enough and gives us hope that it’s possible to improve sustainability in the fashion industry. The technology also has the potential to repair pre-existing pieces which could extend the durability of items beyond their current lifespan.
Unfortunately, it seems that Fabrican’s future still depends on how consumers react to the spray-on technology. If the fashion industry accepts the idea as an important step forward the “fabric in a can” might be able to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment. However, if the industry treats this technology as merely a trend that people pick up on for a season or two and then forget about, then it won’t be much of a use as far as sustainability is concerned. Ultimately, whatever your opinion on this dress is, it’s an important reminder that the fashion industry still has a long way to go when it comes to being environmentally friendly.
Amelia Gregory is Junior Fashion Lead for SSEDITORIAL. She writes on everything from sustainability to runway. She is our lead contributor for red carpet reviews, so keep an eye out for her latest 'Best Dressed' list. Find her on Instagram: @milly_gregory