Marine Serre: the designer who predicted the apocalypse reflects on what will follow
French designer Marine Serre is considered by fashion insiders to be a prophet. It was beating the drums for the apocalypse – sparked by overconsumption and inequality – long before it actually happened, in the form of the global toll sparked by the coronavirus.
So a year after the start of this crisis, what has she learned? “I think it is important to do [only] what you want to do, ”she said in a recent video interview from her Paris office. “What we realize is that if you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do it. It’s a super easy thing to say, but we’ve all seen that it’s a lot harder than you think. Because sometimes we didn’t think too much, and then we would say yes. She smiled. “And then finally we think, Yeah, maybe not.“
Serre’s work is from another world and handmade by a fashion designer – her moon prints are ubiquitous among gym rats and influencers, and her regenerated jackets and pants, made from towels, tablecloths and undead rugs, are cult objects. Basically, however, she’s one of the more pragmatic designers working today. She is a philosopher, rather than a fantasy, who constantly reflects on the purpose of fashion and the way people use clothes today. Last week, she released a capsule with UK store Browns, expanding on the practicality and athleticism of her spring 2021 Amor Fati collection. This collection, the first she showed after Covid sent the industry to the Fashion in a fall last spring, was “the height of the rebellious moment, where we had the energy to be angry,” she said. It was “a kind of revolt”.
This vitality remains in this new capsule, but also, “We wanted it to be mobile, comfortable.” She thinks of her clients who cycle, run through town, exercise. Of course, the outfit is nothing like the athleisure start-up you find on Instagram: there’s a moiré tracksuit – the popular silk fabric in 1950s couture with a washed out appearance – a demi sweater. zip, moon print headbands and even a water bottle moiré. For masculine pieces in particular, she found herself rethinking the silhouette. “We can’t dress in couture today. It makes no sense to suggest that, ”she said. “So I thought, let’s reinterpret these pieces with more blurry, and in an athletic line. “While many designers have incorporated streetwear and athleticism into their runway wear, most think of comfort rather than functionality. People train in Serre’s clothing – jogging, lifting, dancing. or doing yoga or pilates. “I think it’s so important and so good,” she said, “and I’m really proud of it: well, fashion isn’t just the superficial thing. which has no use. “
Its entire range – not just the athletic component – is designed around this principle. The easiest way to describe her job, she said, might be “political clothes and clothes made for utility.” The swimsuit she uses for her basic pieces, often printed with these crescent moon, “is a second skin. They talk about cycling, they talk about a life that goes fast. Items like his towels, meanwhile – I was wearing a black jacket made of jacquard towels from dead animals during our interview – are political. “You just take the towel you clean yourself with, and then it becomes a really chic bespoke jacket.” The two work in tandem, she explains, “I really like that these two things can be mixed. We cannot only have symbolic, mystical and political clothes. We also need practical clothes to live. “
It’s a different sensibility than many of her peers, many of whom have responded to the events of the past year by retreating to whimsy and glamor for their fall 2021 collections. Serre, meanwhile, treats the season like a sort of standardization of its upcycling processes and the silhouettes it has developed. That meant producing a number of his signature pieces and photographing them on friends and family under a collection called Core, and handing out a book that describes the brand’s basic materials and building techniques. “We were at the peak of trying to cope with the fact that we were really in danger” before the pandemic, she said. “And then of course, after that came the moment when the danger is the. All the apocalyptic shows I’ve done before – it’s reality now. It’s not about preventing something that might happen, because we are really in a difficult position, for ourselves and for the planet. So I was just trying to think, what’s left? What’s still in fashion? What do people have left? What is left for life? And what you have left are your friends, your family, these are the people you love. And it’s also the job, the time and the knowledge to do something, and the understanding of the things you do.
She continued, “It was important for me to show because I feel that in fashion it’s something that doesn’t exist. You shouldn’t sell a dream, which is actually fake and that [consumers] will never achieve, because that’s just not the reality. So in a way he was also trying to anchor things – beautiful things – in the reality of life, and not about that hope. [for] something that will never happen. “
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