Night-Time Gloss. Coperni AW21

Coperni boys are sure we will again have parties (at some point in time). Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant decided to do a physical show, so they came up with a sociall-distanced idea of a drive-in, and selected the Accor Arena, a giant stadium on the outskirts of town  as a venue. This season showed that Coperni is taking a new (and less uptight) direction. Meyer and Vaillant have made a signature of an efficient, athleticized minimalism, and for autumn-winter 2021 they wanted to give their clothes a night-time gloss. Adut Akech opened the show in an off-the-shoulder A-line minidress, and Mica Argañaraz closed it in a see-through painted lace shift. There was also a robe coat in faux fur (worn by Jill Kortleve), very Madonna in her ‘Music’ video. Some of the brand’s most compelling thinking happens on the accessories front, a growing part of the brand. A new bag in apple leather unzips completely flat, while their signature handbag comes in shiny rhinestones. The Coperni girl (and guy) long for a crowdy, chic dancefloor.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Protective Chic. Coperni SS21

Lockdown has been especially tough for small and medium-sized labels. Coperni, the Paris-based label created and designed by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Valliant, is somewhere between small and medium, and is known for making exceptional, well-tailored garments with a hi-tech twist. Also, they keep it quiet and unfussy, which makes it double-hard in facing the giant brands, which desperately produce mega-productions to lurk any customer to their shops in the COVID era. Yet somehow, the boys managed to present a remarkable fashion show in the first days of this very unusual Paris Fashion Week, and keep their distinct, understated style afloat. And also, they are the first to introduce as to protective chic! In lockdown, Meyer and Arnaud Valliant launched a DIY mask making project on Instagram. This was in the early days of the pandemic, when solution-oriented designers scrambled to fill in the gaps left by overwhelmed and underperforming governments. “We were inspired [to start making masks] by our family, most of whom work in the medical field,” they said at the time. “We immediately wanted to help, even with our limited assets.” Soon, they started receiving selfies from Instagram followers around the world who used their easy-to-sew pattern to make masks. As they started to work on this collection, they found themselves hooked on the feel-good results of their problem-solving and decided to make it part of their mission at Coperni. On a Zoom call with Vogue the day before their show, they proudly showed off a new technical jersey material dipped in a solution that renders it anti-UV and antibacterial as well as wrinkle resistant. For years, fashion watchers have been waiting for the runways to catch up with the technical advancements happening in the outdoors and sporting markets. Coronavirus, the drastic accelerator, has hastened that process for the Coperni duo. “The starting point of the collection was how can we improve things and how can we protect everybody?” said Valliant. Meyer added: “I think for designers it’s our duty to evolve the clothes and make them more protective and more comfortable.” The jersey, which they cut into aerodynamic jackets and body-conscious dresses is a preview of a future in which clothes do more work for their wearers, and a promising area of exploration for Coperni. The longer the coronavirus crisis draws out the more potential there is for fashion that’s merely decorative to seem frivolous. Then again, Meyer and Valliant aren’t about to abdicate the notion of fashion for fashion’s sake. Other parts of the collection showcased the graphic fabric manipulation and the spare but idiosyncratic patternmaking that they’ve made their specialities. They staged their show on the roof of La Tour Montparnasse, the highest skyscraper in Paris, under a light rain. The designers see it as an optimistic gesture in a moment that has sharpened their focus. “It hasn’t been an easy season and it’s been stressful,” said Valliant, “but we have to stand up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The New Business Look. Coperni AW20

Here’s the business look of the future, delivered by Coperni. A troop of hacker replicants took over Station F, a startup campus on Paris’s east side. Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant staged their Coperni runway show in the campus’s expansive atrium. The venue suited their vision – the look of the new collection is as sharp, sexy, and futuristic. The Coperni boys spent two years at Courrèges, whose founder André Courrèges laid the foundations for Space Age style. That DNA continues in their work. This was a highly persuasive outing: confident in its minimal concision. Pants suits were cut close to the body with very little in the way of excess, save for the flourish here and there of extra-long split sleeves or a jacket hem that swooshed to one side in a gesture suggestive of movement. A gorgeous little black dress cut asymmetrically at the neckline was just as lean.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hi-Tech Minimalism. Coperni SS20

Instead of the standard runway show format, Coperni’s Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant hosted a screening of a short film at the Apple store on the Champs Élysées in Paris. Meyer and Vaillant love doing things with a hi-tech twist, and their minimalist line-ups are as sleek as the recently launched iPhone 11. Their ‘airplane mode’ symbol bag is trending since its debut last season, so there’s no wonder why the couple decided on reproducing the familiar arches in new colours and other leather goods. There was a Bluetooth bow on the waistband of miniskirts. A customer can  scan a jacket’s QR code to find out the fabric’s origins. It’s interesting to see how Coperni plays with technology that surrounds us everyday, even if the result is sometimes too literal. The simplest, least smartphone-inspired pieces impress the most: take the black mini dress with a razor-sharp cut, for instance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, photos by Hugo Comte.

Resurrection. Coperni AW19

Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant‘s Coperni isn’t actually a new brand: it was under hiatus during the designer’s tenure at Courrèges. But now, the boys are back, better than ever. Their autumn-winter 2019 is filled with clothes that seem to be basics that actually should be in everybody’s wardrobe. But when you think of it, who does simple, minimal, comfortable suits in Paris? Something as simple as a little black dress? Or a crisp blue shirt that isn’t elongated or exaggerated in any way? The designers do clothes for real life, so thoroughly considered construction of every single outfit is more than impressive. The airplane-mode-tab leather bag has a shape so classy and eye-catchy that it will surely stir social media, just like Meyer and Vaillant’s model casting (Teddy Quinlivan!) and the @coperni_your_life account that you’ve got to discover for yourself. I can sense success right over her.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.