Wit and vision are two key ingredients for the act of creation. So is independence, feeling free from judgement and fear, despite knowing that one’s research will form the core of a major new venture. Sébastien Meyer (Creative Director & Co-founder) and Arnaud Vaillant (CEO & Co-founder) seem to have found what it takes to make an emerging brand exciting and surprising. Coperni, born in 2013, is one of the most innovative brands of our times. Let’s see why…
GP: I feel that Coperni has a strong focus on the digital and a different perception of physicality. “Technological chic” is your definition of the brand. Did you imagine this sort of positioning when you first started?
SM; AV: In 2013 we created Coperni, an idea born in our little Parisian apartment. Initially we only posted a few creations on Instagram, and we always tried to share our pieces in a different manner. For example, we began by cutting the images into mosaics. It might sound dull today, but it was really cool back then. Thanks to Instagram we were discovered by Clara Cornet, when she was a buyer at Opening Ceremony. In a way, technology and the digital realm have been part of Coperni’s DNA from the beginning.
GP: Emerging brands nowadays have to consider so many aspects of the industry. Which aspect did you start with?
SM; AV: Our greatest concern has always been to create “real” clothes that can be worn by our friends. There’s a complementarity between us that allows us to create collections with a perfect balance between creativity and wearability.
GP: Who are your biggest influences and why?
SM; AV: Definitely our friends and family. We always try to listen to our friends in terms of what they want to wear, how they want to wear a piece, and how much they would like to pay for it. Another major influence for us is technology, and we are not ashamed to admit that our iPhone is our greatest source of inspiration. The object itself has an elegant design, great functionality, and almost everything can be done with an iPhone. It is a fantastic object that connects us with the rest of the world.
GP: If you could work with anyone, living or not, who would it be?
SM: Helmut Lang for his rigor and his hidden madness.
AV: Pierre Bergé for his strength and courage.
GP: What is your relationship with photography and video? And with magazines? What do you look at? What are you passionate about?
SM; AV: Since we grew up in the south of France, we discovered fashion through magazines — we could not experience the physicality of fashion straight away. Nowadays it became a bible for us. Arnaud was a subscriber to Vogue from the age of sixteen. It was in these magazines that we discovered the importance of the relationship between a photographer, a stylist, and a model, through the work of hair and makeup artists. The greatest strength of a magazine lies in its physicality. It is an object that remains in time, that crosses generations. It’s a time marker, a witness of styles and of passing fashions. Nothing will replace a magazine. At a time when we are talking about the end of magazines, we must fight to continue to keep them alive and particularly to make them coexist with the digital. The two must be complementary.
GP: Have you ever thought about collaborating with crypto artists? Maybe on the narrative of your brand?
SM; AV: Obviously this is a subject that interests us greatly. It is still a very complex world for the general public to fully comprehend, so we are waiting for the right project to embark on it. Even if the digital realm is our passion, we would hate doing something digital that has only a digital purpose. If we do, it has to meet specific requirements and the project must be readable and fun, otherwise it creates frustration and reluctance.
GP: Have you created your own community yet? Who wears Coperni? What do your consumers recognize themselves in? Is there a recurring motif or attitude?
SM; AV: It is truly the greatest reward to see our clothes worn on the streets and posted on social media. What is most precious to us is the Coperni public relations team that has been created over the years. We love to interact with them, to see them grow, to get involved in the brand.
GP: In May 2015 you were both appointed artistic directors of the brand Courrèges. What encouraged you to establish your own brand?
SM; AV: Everything we have done in our life and since we met has been done organically without any planning. When we officially launched Coperni in 2013, it was only after getting positive feedback from our Instagram posts that we were prompted to officially create the brand. The same happened with Courrèges; we never imagined meeting at the head of such a large house at only twenty-five years old.
GP: You staged a drive-in show during Paris Fashion Week, a very retro but contemporary concept. How did you come up with the idea, and what kind of mood did you want to express to your community and clientele?
SM; AV: We got the idea while watching the film Holy Motors (2012) by Leos Carax for the third time, as he is one of our favorite directors. One of the final scenes shows all the limos going back inside a garage. I thought this scene could be our starting point for our runway show, and what followed were sleepless nights for the organization of the event.
It was a very important moment for us and our brand. While it was forbidden to organize face-to-face shows in reality, it was the best idea to get around the law as the guests were safe inside their cars. The show also came at a time of confinement when people had only one desire: to go out and party! Rediscover the spirit of Paris la Nuit. It was a magical night, a moment that only happens once.