Why are people calling out Coperni’s latest stunt?

По | 10.03.2023

Credit: Coperni
To demonstrate the ‘symbiotic relationship between humans and technology,’ models sauntered down the runway alongside robot dogs at the brand’s FW/23 show. This has sparked a polarising discourse online with some praising the move and others fearful of the future it points to.

If the name ‘Coperni’ rings a bell, it’s because the brand caused quite a stir last year with its show in Paris, during which an all-but-nude Bella Hadid was sprayed into a dress before the live audience.

Cementing Coperni’s reputation as a pioneering figure in the rapidly-advancing field of fashion and tech integration, the stunt earned co-founders Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer international praise for their innovative approach to representing the industry’s digital transformation.

Their latest demonstration didn’t garner quite so much adoration, however.

On Friday 3rd, as part of Coperni’s commitment to making strange and dystopian connections between style and the virtual world, the brand debuted its FW/23 collection with a Black Mirror-esque extrapolation on the French fable Le Loup et l’Agneau (The Wolf and The Lamb) by Jean de La Fontaine.

Written to provide an ‘opaque moral lesson to children on the tireless extremes tyrants will go through in order to get their end of the bargain,’ Vaillant and Meyer explained that the story was used to highlight the threat of regenerative artificial intelligence and our precarious times.


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‘Unlike the original fable written in the 17th century, which raises questions relating to the balance of power between the human groups that make up society, Coperni reinterprets the story and transposes it to the year of 2023 with a positive vision of the future,’ they said.

While onlookers sat in silence, models dressed in minimalistic garb sauntered down the runway accompanied by a pack of Boston Dynamics robot dogs, the goal being to encourage people to question the theory of whether humans and technology can truly co-exist in perfect harmony.

‘As the four-legged rovers ominously paced the stage, the room took on an air of menace, as if at the mercy of five modern day Hounds of the Baskervilles,’ wrote Jess Cartner-Morley for the Guardian.

Echoing this – although some (an unexpectedly select few in fact) were quick to commend Coperni for yet another stroke of boundary-pushing genius – most have since taken to social media to voice their contempt towards the ‘gimmick.’

Sparking a polarising Internet debate, the show’s critics have expressed fears of the future it points to and say Coperni’s decision to have models interact with machinery is like something from a fever dream that only Elon Musk could conjure up.

gun to your head you have to describe me a look of the coperni show that wasn’t a robot dog x

— brenda (@brendahashtag) March 5, 2023

‘Coperni saw all the positive buzz for their brand following the spray-on dress that they created on Bella Hadid’s body live on the runway last season and really said “now for our next show, we should try to humanize the bloodthirsty police state’s dystopian killing machines”,’ wrote Sarah McGonagall on Twitter.

‘Dystopian hellscape, but make it “fashion”,’ retorts a user in the comment section.

What McGonagall is referring to, is the controversial history behind the bionic hounds that doesn’t really fall in line with Coperni’s rose-tinted fantasy about the impending reality of a life shared with machines.

In 2020, and for $94,000, a pupbot was adopted by the NYPD and received such negative backlash from the public regarding its surveillance violations that the department was forced to dismiss the ‘creepy’ contraption from its ranks and re-home it.

This is namely why the forward-looking aspects of Coperni’s most recent attempt at going viral did so for the wrong reasons and why, unfortunately, its upcoming line will now be associated with a reliance on spectacle rather than the well-considered sartorial hypothesis Vaillant and Meyer were focused on exploring.

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