Couture from a can

The newfound relationship between fashion and technology at Paris Fashion Week

Image by: Amna Rafiq
A dress was spray-painted onto Bella Hadid at Paris Fashion Week.

Twenty-two years ago, Alexander McQueen pulled off the impossible.

As Shalom Harlow sported a strapless white dress and spun on a spinning platform, two robots doused her in black and green spray paint to create a completely unique moment in fashion history—until now.

On Sept. 30, Coperni debuted their spring-summer 2023 fashion collection at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France to conclude their residence at Paris Fashion Week.

Coperni, established in 2013 by French designers Sebastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, is especially known for its avant-garde approach to fashion.

At the end of their exhibition, Bella Hadid made her way onto the runway wearing nothing but simple nude undergarments and a pair of heels. Less than 10 minutes later, she was draped in a gown that hadn’t existed 10 minutes prior.

Using Fabrican, a spray-on formula created by Manel Torres, two men sprayed Hadid with a spider-web-like white liquid out of a can. The formula is made of synthetic fibers suspended in a polymer solution that can thread themselves together and dry almost instantly on the human body.

As the dress finished being sprayed, a woman approached the model, shaped it to fall delicately off Hadid’s shoulders, then snipped a slit up the side of the dress. The finished item: a beautiful white gown that fit Hadid perfectly. It had been made just for her, after all.

While the presentation could have drawn inspiration from McQueen’s stunt in 1999, how fashion technology has evolved is nothing short of extraordinary.

After being worn, the garment can be peeled off like any bodycon dress and turned back into its original liquid solution, ready to be reused over and over again.

Sustainable, ethical fashion is beneficial to our own carbon footprint as well as for the production process. Fabrican provides recyclable materials, and thus less harm to the environment. This is a huge step in the right direction, especially when considering society’s increased engagement with fast fashion brands like SHEIN.

SHEIN’s fashion, while cheap—both quality and price-wise—is completely unsustainable. Their unethical production process involves child workers, poor working conditions, and materials known to be filled with chemicals harmful to humans.

Fabrican is not only enchanting, but sustainable.

Opinions will vary on whether Hadid’s moment was a work of art or merely a publicity grab utilizing two of the media’s favourite things: beautiful half-nude women and instantaneous events.

Nonetheless, Coperni gave the audience something completely unexpected—a “you-won’t-believe-what-I-can-do” moment. I mean, no one expected Hadid to walk out on stage practically naked and have technicians spray paint her body into a dress. 

Bella Hadid is one of the most well-known, gorgeous models in popular culture today, and they placed her centre stage in only her underwear at one of the largest fashion events in the world. Models already get sexualized for their beauty—the designers and publicists knew what they were doing placing Hadid on that stage for the mind-blowing product.  

The product was eye-catching, but so was Hadid.

It’s hard to dispute this as a revolutionary moment for art and technology—after all, no other designers are making clothing out of aerosol cans—but at the end of the day, it was a stunt to confirm Coperni’s niche as innovative, luxurious, and a little bit rebellious.

This moment should inspire other designers to step outside of the constraints of modern-day fashion mediums, hopefully becoming a catalyst for innovative fashion technology.

Although you likely won’t be seeing spray-on dresses at your favourite retail outlet any time soon, everything has to start somewhere.


Bella Hadid, celebrity, Couture, Fashion, Model, Paris Fashion Week

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