Très Cool. Coperni AW22

Coperni ate it up this season! This is definitely my favourite collection coming from Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer‘s Parisian label so far. The hoodie-lapelled blazers, overcoats and fleeces that you see Coperni’s It-model cast wearing so coolly here represented a challenging design brief for Vaillant and Meyer’s tailoring atelier to achieve: they had to look good worn both up and down. As Vaillant showed on his phone pre-show, the women of that atelier – named Cap Est Sarl – sent the designers pictures of themselves wearing the prototypes as that development progressed towards runway-readiness in the last few weeks. “They are so cute, always trying the pieces before sending them – I love them,” said Meyer. Added Vaillant: “They are in Ukraine, in Kyiv: we hadn’t heard from them for a few days. They are safe for now. And we dedicate this collection to them.

This show placed this collection within the pressure cooker arena in which the insecure adolescent chrysalis is forged into the self-aware young adult butterfly: high school. On a runway framed by school lockers and to an excellent faux-radio broadcast of upbeat disaffection the models first emerged as laconically withdrawn, cloistered in those hooded pieces of generically reinvented tailoring. These did indeed work with the hood/lapel worn back off the head. Other cleverly twisted takes on tailoring were the disassembled jacket crop tops and miniskirts and a twist-fronted Le Smoking jacket with cut outs at the midriff whose construction translated finely into menswear fleeces and trench coats. A waistcoat, sometimes cut in a crystal pinstripe, also incorporated a hood that came with cute little Batman ears. Aran knit short-sleeved bodies featuring that hood and a circular cutout at the back were eccentric takes on a preppy knitwear mafia staple. Jeans and leather pants that were worn as gaiters cut to just above the knee were a funny riff on low-waistband rebellion. Upcycled Adidas Gazelles and zip-decorated pumps aside, notable footwear included chisel toed articulated soled derbies whose vectored shape was inspired by the Tesla Cybertruck prototype. Coperni’s emblematic Swipe bag appeared in blown glass: calamity was avoided when the model carrying it caught her heel on the runway and pitched forward before pulling off a graceful recovery. We shifted towards the big butterfly-emerges moment – prom night, of course – via a grungily pretty asymmetric dress in white French velvet worn with those Adidas, and a super clever minidress made entirely of upcycled ties. Prom queen candidate gowns substituted tulle for rose strewn latex and a dancefloor’s worth of who’s-sorry-now sheer minidresses. This was an extremely witty collection that was very cleverly conceived by the designers – and wonderfully cut by those Kyiv craftswomen.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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