Bella Hadid’s Spray-Painted Coperni Dress

October 08, 2022|3 min read
By Grace
Bella Hadid Paris Fashion Week

With Paris Fashion Week coming to an end and designers debuting their Spring Summer 2023 collections, the show that has captivated thousands around the globe and broke the internet was the French brand Coperni. Designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant partnered with two technicians from Fabrican, a London-based science and design company, to create a bodycon dress for the world-renowned model Bella Hadid.

The Parisian brand’s presentation went viral, given it had something futuristic and distinctive from the fashion world: the presence of a semi-naked supermodel. The 25-year-old supermodel turned heads as she walked to the middle of the runway, wearing only a G-string, holding her breasts, standing on an illuminated pedestal where two men took to spraying liquid-like fabric onto her skin. In about 9 minutes, Bella Hadid was engulfed in a light layer of fabric. Once the fabric settled, Coperni’s Head of Design, Charlotte Raymond, came up to wipe off the excess and shape the dress into its final design. She lowered the straps, cutting the bottom from ankle length to mid-calf length, and adding sultry by cutting way for a slit on Bella’s left leg.

Bella Hadid Paris Fashion Week

Shockingly, the segment was not previously rehearsed with Bella due to her busy Paris Fashion Week schedule, highlighting the professionalism and skill of the dress engineers, designers, and Bella herself. “I was so nervous,” Bella said backstage. “I think that was the best moment of my life.” She went on to post with the comment, “No rehearsal, no nothing, just passion.”

Doctor Manel Torres, founder and managing director of Fabrican, utilized a spray-on fabric that, once sprayed, dries to create a wearable, non-woven textile. It can be made using various types of fibers, from natural to synthetic, including wool, nylon, cellulose, cotton, and carbon nanofibers. Doctor Torres has been working on this multifaceted piece of technology since 2003. It is a liquid suspension that is applied via a spray gun or aerosol that cross-links fibers, adhering them to one another, creating an instant non-woven fabric. The fabric is sterile and can be made into bandages or casts for broken bones. It even absorbs oil and could be used to clean up after oil disasters. “I thought I could create a mist,” he said in a 2013 TED Talk. “That was the eureka moment.”

For those curious, the dress appears to be made of a kind of silk or cotton, but those who got close enough to touch it discovered that it felt soft but elastic, bumpy like a sponge. According to Arnaud, the dress can be removed like any other tight garment. It can be hung and washed or put back into the bottle of its original solution to regenerate – how innovative and sustainable.

Bella Hadid in Coperni

The demo reminded many of another iconic moment in fashion history: Alexander McQueen's Spring 1999 Show, when Shalom Harlow’s dress was spray-painted by robots. Harlow walked out in a papery muslin dress with a billowing underskirt of white tulle and a belted chest harness. She stood on a revolving wooden turntable, almost like a music box figurine, between two mechanical robots shipped in from an Italian car factory. They shot paint at her, covering her dress with black and neon yellow graffiti. Similar but not quite the same.

Alexander McQueen's Spring 1999 Show, when Shalom Harlow’s dress was spray-painted by robots.

“We wanted to dedicate this moment to Dr. Torres, because we respect what he does so much. We felt that it was absolutely necessary that he led the performance–to us, that makes the experience even more magical,” explained Arnaud Vaillant.

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Marketing Associate at appreciate
Grace Collora works as a Marketing Associate at appreciate. She has many interests including writing about fashion, pop culture, and sustainability.

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