A. VAILLANT & S. MEYER // COPERNI

From their duality comes synergy and strength. It’s a love of tradition combined and contrasted with an avant-garde and resolutely futuristic approach to style. We chat to Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, creators of Coperni…

MONNIER Frères: Who is behind Coperni?Sébastien Meyer: The two of us co-founded Coperni. Arnaud deals with the business and organisation side of things, and I'm in charge of design.

M.F.: When there are two people designing, there’s always the risk that one of you will be more in the spotlight than the other, which doesn't seem to be the case with you. How do you operate day to day?
S.M.: It's all very natural, it's a conversation about every detail, about every decision that needs to be made.
A.V.: We have a lot of respect for each other, and we both act as spokespersons for the brand.
S.M.: Plus, we don't really like the whole celebrity designer thing, so the brand name speaks for itself. It's more the idea of an adventure, a collective.

M.F.: Speaking of which, how did you come up with the idea of launching Coperni, whose name is a tribute to Copernicus?
S.M.: It happened very naturally. We launched Coperni just after fashion school, where we met. Arnaud was working at other labels, and I was ready to create. We started by making clothes, and then we had to find a name.
A.V.: We felt Coperni sounded good in all languages. Aside from that, we love everything it says in terms of imagination, science, progress, adventures, discoveries...
S.M.: ...innovation...
A.V.: ...the futuristic side as well as the traditional feel. We’ve always loved the duality of paying tribute to heritage and tradition while making things more futuristic, more avant-garde.

 

M.F.: In May 2015 you decided to put Coperni on hold to become artistic directors of Courrèges. On 1st February 2019, you relaunched Coperni. Why the break? And why the comeback?
A.V.: We were ready to get back to Coperni. We wanted to re-tell our own story while being very free. It was amazing to work for Courrèges, but we were working for a house, with rules and conventions to respect. Now, we are completely free, and can have fun with it!
S.M.: It happened at a very specific time. We felt there was a demand for a product that was quite chic, intricate, and a little technical, too. And since that's what we love to do, and the approach we have always taken, we didn't overthink it!

M.F.: Has much changed between the Coperni back then, and now?
A.V.: Not in terms of our philosophy, our DNA or our beliefs, but in terms of organisation, yes. When we first left school, everything was very “freestyle". Whereas now we do things in a more thought-out way, we get more out of it.

M.F.: What was it that made you start designing bags?S.M.: Since the beginning of Coperni, we've always done everything very naturally and spontaneously. And that's what we like. We don't like to plan things. The bags came about very instinctively. They were very much "tech" inspired, and I did lots of research on all the visual language, digital icons including the Wi-Fi symbol, the "swipe" button on the iPhone... I saw that and it immediately inspired me. So I thought “why not a bag”?

M.F.: Since the launch of Coperni, you’ve had a huge social media presence, especially on Instagram. Why this decision to go digital?
S.M.: Well, we’re definitely not the sort to be inspired by a trip to Marrakech... We like to take inspiration from things we have to hand in our everyday lives, incredible tools, with endless possibilities, and to play with them. We like to shake things up a little. These tools and objects have come to define our times, and I find that fascinating.
A.V.: Instagram is very important to our brand. We did two projects we had a blast with. The first was "Copernize Your Life", and the second was called "Coperni Arcade". The idea being to use Instagram - even hijack it - and give power back to the user. We like the customer, the viewer, to be able to have fun and discover the brand for themselves.

 

M.F.: So you might say that fashion is a game?S.M.: Yes, I do think it should be seen in that way. It needs to be made more accessible, more inclusive, more open... more alive.

M.F.: What is your favourite of all your accessory designs?A.V.: The Swipe Bag, for sure.

M.F.: How do you see fashion in ten years' time?
A.V.: I don't know how it will be, I hope it will be more sustainable, obviously. With lots more precise, more futuristic things.
S.M.: I think we'll all have a uniform, a bit like before. In the haute couture years, when women chose a brand and they dressed in it all the time. I think we might come back to that a bit, to something more committed...

M.F.: And how do envision your brand?
S.M.: We'd like to try to develop even more projects with an innovative, technological, even technical edge. That’s what we’ll try to do, bit by bit. We mustn't make our projects too gadgety, or use technology just for the sake of it. We're going to take our time, gather information, work methodically, and hopefully in ten years' time we'll be able to release a connected bag that people can really use.

M.F.: On 25 February, Coperni put on a FW show for the first time. You chose to do it at Station F, home of Parisian startups. A place you chose for a reason...
A.V.: Yes. Last season we did a show at the Apple Store on the Champs-Elysées...
S.M.: ... so Station F made sense. We were really happy to work on the site, surrounded by startups, because the way we are building Coperni is a bit like a startup. We also loved doing it in a public place, a bit like we did last season at the Apple Store. So people can watch. It's funny because during the show, naturally, all the startups and young people came out onto the balcony or to the window to watch the show.

M.F.: So, what's next? What are your plans?
S.M.: We've got into doing catwalk shows a bit, so we'll carry on and create yet another new experience, an interesting new show.
A.V.: We're getting started on pre-collections, too, we want to speed up the pace of new products, clothing, bags. Lots of bags.

 

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