In the bubble

From commodities to soft matter and geodesic domes to disputed territories, spheres, foams and bubbles offer a new framework for understanding contemporary thought.

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Lucie wears a bodysuit, leotard and shoes by Moncler Gamme Rouge.

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“Copernicus took us out of the centre of the solar system; we now need to take ourselves out of the centre of the biosphere.” From John Thackara’s In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (2005), a book on ethics and lightness in design. Left, Lucie contemplates the Copernican revolution, wearing a shirt and skirt by Thomas Tait. Right, all of Charlie’s clothes are by Raf Simons.

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“The sphere is the interior, disclosed, shared realm inhabited by humans… because living always means building spheres, both on a small and on a large scale.” From Bubbles: Spheres I (2011) by Peter Sloterdijk.

“Today, how easy it is to presume that one universe is all there is. Yet emerging theories of modern cosmology, as well as the continually reaffirmed improbability that anything is unique, require that we remain open to the latest assault on our plea for distinctiveness: multiple universes, otherwise known as the ‘multiverse’, in which ours is just one of countless bubbles bursting forth from the fabric of the cosmos.” From Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge (2001) by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Left, all Charlie’s clothes are by Fendi. If he listens hard enough, maybe he can hear the bursting of universes through the cosmic fabric. On the right, he wears a suit, shirt and carries a bag by Paul Smith with shoes by Joseph.

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“We all have secret lives. The life of excretion; the world of inappropriate sexual fantasies; our real hopes, our terror of death; our experience of shame; the world of pain; and our dreams. No one else knows these lives. Consciousness is solitary. Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.” From Galileo’s Dream (2009) by Kim Stanley Robinson. Solitary in his consciousness, Charlie wears shoes by Joseph (left)

“Over time I have come to suspect that my affection for [Sloterdijk’s] Bubbles may have less to do with its endorsement of negative gynecology and more to do with its ridiculous title, which it shares with Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee. Michael doted on Bubbles. But Michael would also rotate the chimp out of service as it aged, and replace it with a new younger Bubbles.” From The Argonauts (2015) by Maggie Nelson. Lucie (right) wears a pink and a blue shoe from L.K. Bennett x Bionda Castana recalling the rotation of Bubbles the chimpanzee. She wears a suit by Hillier Bartley and floral trousers wrapped on top by Hilfiger Collection.

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“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable,” said Buckminster Fuller. Left, Lucie, trying in vain to touch her invisible self, wears two shirts and trousers by Erika Cavallini and shoes by Camper. Right, all Charlie’s clothes are by Dries Van Noten.

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“The simple fact of its shape was a visual metaphor for an ecological consciousness, of a planet which had been shrunk to the size of a day’s travel, where the sky was no longer the limit, a world which could now be seen from outside,” wrote Douglas Murphy about Buckminster Fuller’s United States 1967 Pavilion in Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture (2016). Left, Lucie wears a coat, vest, trousers, leggings and shoes by A.W.A.K.E. She is poised for a day’s travel across the planet.

“The Google self and the Facebook self, in other words, are pretty different people. There’s a big difference between ‘you are what you click’ and ‘you are what you share’.” From The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Charlie, right, wears a jacket by J.W. Anderson, a jumper and trousers by Tommy Hilfiger Tailored and shoes by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. He points out the difference between his digital selves, holding a jacket by Tommy Hilfiger Tailored and sunglasses by BOSS.

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“[Creative destruction is] the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. From Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter (1942). Left, all Charlie’s clothes are by Loewe. Right, Lucie, stable, but revolutionised from within, wears a vest by G-Star RAW, a shirt by Kitand Ace, a belt by Kenzo, trousers by Hillier Bartley and shoes by Jimmy Choo.

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“Now tell me in what society, or beside whom, you live, and I will tell you who you are; describe your double, your guardian angel, your parasite, and I will recognise your identity.” Michel Serres, from Atlas (1994) as cited in Sloterdijk’s Bubbles. Twinned, Charlie and Lucie find their identity through each other. All their clothes are by Pringle of Scotland.

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“All movement, the great horizon, the journey, is a spasm of forgetting, which bends in the bubble of memory. Memory is always portable, it is always in the hands of a wandering automaton.” From César Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind (2011). Left, Lucie takes her memories with her, wearing two dresses and carrying a bag by Céline.

“Again and again the notion of the spherical environment, the dome or the bubbles, came to represent the new-found sense of the earth as a small, vulnerable globe in the vastness of space.” From Douglas Murphy’s Last Futures. Right, Lucie, floored by her new-found sense of the vulnerability of the earth, wears a top, skirt and bracelets by Liviana Conti with trousers and shoes by Iceberg.

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“We are already living in the bubble ourselves – already, like those characters in Bosch paintings enclosed in a crystal sphere: a transparent envelope in which we have taken refuge and where we remain, bereft of everything yet overprotected, doomed to artificial immunity, continual transfusions and, at the slightest contact with the world outside, instant death,” wrote Jean Baudrillard in his essay “The Boy in the Bubble” (1993). Charlie wears a jacket and badge by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. Right, he wears a bag by Vivienne Westwood, trousers by Dior Homme and shoes by Joseph, evoking Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights (1515).

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“In foam worlds, the individual bubbles are not absorbed into a single, integrative hyper-orb, as in the metaphysical conception of the world, but rather drawn together to form irregular hills... What is currently being confusedly proclaimed in all the media as the globalisation of the world is, in morphological terms, the universalised war of foams” Peter Sloterdijk in Foam: Spheres III (forthcoming). Left, Lucie wears a top, trousers and shoes by MM6. Right, all Charlie’s clothes are by Prada. Charlie and Lucie are drawn together, ready to scale irregular hills.

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All Charlie’s clothes, and his bag, are by Gucci.

Photography: Sohrab Golsorkhi-Ainslie / Womenswear styling: Nobuko Tannawa / Menswear styling: Bobby Hook / Women’s hair: Maki Tanaka using Aveda / Men’s hair: Takuya Uchiyama using Catwalk by TIGI / Women’s make-up: Emma Williams using Estée Lauder / Men’s make-up: Ammy Drammeh using MAC Cosmetics / Menswear styling assistant: Lucy Budd / Models: Charlie Cooper at Models 1 and Lucie Grace at Select Model Management