it's pouring down at marine serre

After creating her spring/summer collection during a 45 degree Parisian heatwave, the French designer imagined our world after the apocalypse — climate wars, heatwaves, mass extinction, acid rain.

by Felix Petty
24 September 2019, 3:33pm

Photography @mitchell_sams

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

On a rainy and overcast morning, on a racetrack on the western outskirts of Paris, Marine Serre presented her SS20 collection. In just a few short seasons Marine has gone from student to working at Balenciaga to winning the LVMH Prize — before even showing a collection on the runway.

And in the three seasons since picking up the prize, her work has embodied fashion's newfound environmental conscience. She's a recycler and an upcycler, building new clothes from old. She’s been busy questioning the value of clothes and the fashion industry. Marrying old craft with new creativity.

Her hallmarks so far have been: tight-fitting, technical all-in-ones, all-over crescent moon prints, paranoid cyberpunk futurism, open-hearted resistance to the wastefulness of much of the industry. “This season was about showing all the things that the brand can do — of course, I do a lot of upcycling, but I wanted to show that I can do tailoring, that I can do menswear, that I can work with different materials,” Marine said, after the show. “I'm trying to sharpen what the brand's identity is, to make it really wearable but still keeping the raw energy. It's about trying to find that balance."


The narrative that anchored her show was one of fashion for a world after the upcoming social-environmental collapse. The central track of the racecourse was coated in a sickly black plastic which the models walked down, two-by-two. The guests sat on long silver waste pipes either side. Drizzle rained down on the guests (the show invite, handily, was an umbrella). It was presented as an exploration of post-apocalyptic tribes emerging from their caves and back into the world “after the apocalypse — climate wars, heatwaves, mass extinction” the show notes explained. They emerged to a soundtrack of tribal drums and dark, bassy techno.

The first tribe came in black, anarcho-militaristic moiré and recycled plastic. They walked big, fierce, Alastians. The second tribe came in tailored jackets, in dark browns and greens, mixed with neoprenes and silk scarves and decorated in lavish jewellery. The third arrived in lace, florals, knitted wools and crochet shawls, patchwork fragments of an old luxury world. They carried Pomeranians. The final tribe were amphibious water-people, decked in towelling, adapted to already-risen sea-levels — “the suggestion of on-going evolution and hybridisation,” the notes said.

If that was the story, then it also worked as a device to showcase Marine’s rapidly growing expertise and talent. "The story and the clothes develop at the same time,” Marine explained. “I start working with upcycled materials, for example, which generates inspiration for me. But you can't help but be influenced by the world around you when are creating. When I was making the collection this summer in Paris, it was 45 degrees. That affects you.”

It is becoming harder to ignore climate change. We find ourselves at an mid-point, somewhere between hopeful and distressed. We’re bombarded with bad news about upcoming climate disaster, and it’s easy to feel insignificant, or to think that change isn’t possible, or what we do isn’t effective. (Will banning plastic straws really save the planet?) But we have to find some kind of belief that things could get better, else what is the point?

"This is where we find ourselves today,” Marine said, “We have a lot to be both optimistic and pessimistic about. It's difficult to make sense of the world we live in. But we have to try and find beauty and creativity in the pessimistic elements of the world right now, to transform them into something hopeful."



Photography Mitchell Sams.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Paris Fashion Week
marine serre
spring/summer 20