Depending on who you ask, haute couture can mean classic Parisian ateliers like Chanel or the one-off bespoke pieces from Bode. The same goals emerge: high-quality materials, impeccable craftsmanship and, of course, hours and hours of craftsmanship that elevate garment-making from a skill to an art form. This work can include intricate patterns of embroidered sequins, layers of fluffy tulle or even an elegant little black dress; what matters is that it is based on years of human expertise and developed techniques. The spray dress from Coperni’s recent Spring/Summer 2023 show poses a new and interesting question: can the use of technology also be considered “craftsmanship”?
10 minutes: That’s how long it took Bella Hadid to go from naked underwear to fully clothed. She walked down the catwalk in a dress made on the spot with synthetic fibers sprayed onto her body and quickly adapted by Coperni’s design manager, Charlotte Raymond, to include a draped neckline and a thigh-high slit. It was elegant, classy and a bit sexy. He also challenged any notion of traditional clothing making – a bold reimagining of what it means to make a garment.
While Coperni founders Meyer and Vaillant insist the showcase is not an homage, it finds its clear visual predecessor in Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 1999. her with yellow and black paint. Basically, this show brought a nuance to the idea of artistic creation. In a piece technically created by robots, attributing it to Alexander McQueen forced viewers to recognize that the artistic conception was just as important as the act of making oneself. Coperni’s latest show builds on that legacy – in a spray dress, there’s no need to sew or weave textiles, the inventiveness of the idea is part of its genius. Even as Charlotte Raymond modified it on stage, all eyes were on the futuristic fabric molding to the body rather than the tailoring.
Additionally, Coperni’s dress also brings an interesting perspective on the materials that fashion can use. The liquid sprayed on Bella Hadid is made up of short natural fibers bound together by natural and synthetic polymers then mixed with liquid solvents, an invention of Fabrican, the British company behind the technology. The material is a plant-based alternative, reflecting a recent push in the fashion industry, where designers are using technology to find sustainable solutions to fashion’s longstanding problems with environmental pollution. For example, up-and-coming fashion designers like Grace Ling are using technology to address sustainability in a less obvious but equally impactful way. Integrating 3D software into the design process, his brand manages to create waste-free parts by calculating exact quantities and 3D rendering. They also use infinitely recyclable 3D printed aerodynamic aluminum. As consumers become more aware of sustainability and brands try to portray themselves as environmentally conscious, one could argue that technology adoption is necessary to keep fashion relevant in the future.
Moreover, these technological innovations suggest that rather than encroaching on centuries-old techniques, the use of computers, synthetic fabrics, and experimental methods is in fact part of the bold creativity and constant reinvention that has driven the high fashion. For Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2023, the brand collaborated with Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona, creating fabrics that grew plants like chia and catswort. The resulting garments were a wonderful fusion of nature, technology and fashion, with long green shoots that hung over the coats like luxurious ostrich feathers. Like Coco Chanel’s transgressive appropriation of menswear to redefine womenswear with sleek pants and tight-fitting jackets, the use of materials in new and surprising ways shows how crucial technology can be. for the progress of fashion.
With the buzz generated by the recent Coperni showcase, it is expected that other fashion houses will soon follow suit with bigger and bolder incorporations of technology into their collections. Brands like GCDS have even staged entire fashion shows in virtual reality. Technology, it seems, is not only a tool but also a source of inspiration for creators. Defined by heritage and tradition, fashion’s embrace of technology provides a microcosmic blueprint for society as a whole, showing how new technology could in fact provide opportunities for artistic creativity that could never have existed. in the past. The future of fashion remains extremely unpredictable, thanks in large part to the exponential development of tandem technology. The question that remains is not whether the technology will be introduced, but how.