Fashion Men's Fashion

Fashion Is Finally Catching Up to Marine Serre

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The result was one of fashion’s most successful and sophisticated communiques of a designer’s vision, at a pivotal moment in Serre’s career. (Her moon print bodysuits had a starring role in Beyonce’s Black Is King, after all!) The website hosting the video is stylishly, intelligently designed, showing the lookbook images as the characters appear on film—a focus on detail and legibility that has been surprisingly rare in the industry’s digital offerings.

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Courtesy of Marine Serre
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Courtesy of Marine Serre

More broadly, Serre said she’s felt affirmed by the interest in her upcycled pieces, or what she calls regenerated garments—clothing made from the scraps of other, unused garments. “It’s a huge change. It’s almost day and night,” she said. “Two years ago, no one understood.” She released a fascinating series of videos showing how the pieces were made late in the spring. (Everyone and Virgil Abloh is upcycling now; it’s fair to say that Serre spearheaded the current movement.) Tablecloths, old bedspreads, deadstock leather and fur, and hairdressing capes are just a handful of the materials she’s made use of in the past, and as fans of her brand know, those pieces can be quite expensive to purchase; she said they’re also quite expensive to produce. Trendy as upcycling is, and beloved as it seems to be by consumers, it is a more painstaking process than you might realize. The inconsistency of the pieces also makes them difficult to sell online. (Others among the Serreheads love the randomness of ordering a garment and getting a slightly different print than what they’d seen onsite.)

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Courtesy of Marine Serre

She was tired, she said “of not being able to offer the regenerated garments at a price that I could even offer them to myself. I really wanted to put an accent on making regenerated pieces accessible.” For the most part, that meant simplifying the construction of her pieces, and focusing on a core group of silhouettes that she could include season after season: the basketball short, the fitted safari jacket, hourglass dresses, and denim jackets. Reducing and simplifying her silhouettes means factories don’t have to learn how to use new fabrics every season—a number of spring 2021 pieces are made from old carpet, a major motif in her fall 2020 Dune-themed collection. (If Timothee Chalamet doesn’t wear one of those looks on the Dune red carpet, I’m going to lose it.) Even her face shield visor—one of the first times we’ve seen that on the runway, save for a pricey Vuitton version that (surprise) annoyed Twitter—is made with carpet.

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Courtesy of Marine Serre
Image may contain Clothing Apparel Sleeve Long Sleeve Human Person Suit Coat Overcoat Pants Jacket and Blazer
Courtesy of Marine Serre

But she also wanted to make things more functional. “That was really a choice for me, to make sure that the regenerated garment could be part of our daily life,” she said. Her moire and nylon anorak jackets, for example, are jersey on the back, so that you can ride your bike while wearing them; and covered with pockets on the front, so that you can move around the city without carrying a bag. One miniskirt is designed with shorts for biking.

Serre’s regenerated pieces have created a dedicated following of fashion and art insiders who love her health goth Sturm und Drang. Elsewhere, her moon-print undergarments have won over an army of influencers. The question is whether the two factions will merge, grow in parallel, or rebel against each other. (This is a common problem for younger designers: Telfar does much more than bags, for example.) The increasing presence of men in her collections suggest they are a significant puzzle piece in answering this question. But Serre also pointed out that in her film, the figures embracing wildly under the tree are the same ones who methodically operate on the model in the opening scene. “It was to show how we are adapting, and how we are chameleonic and changing. The Marine Serre brand, when you want to be part of this, you don’t need to choose. You can be the tree at the same time. You can be parallel. I don’t ask you to choose, and I don’t want to ask you to choose.”

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