French designer Marine Serre is set to be one of the most important designers of our time. Not only has Serre achieved pop culture relevance in the past year—thanks to Beyoncé and Adele, among others—the designer has more importantly, focused a huge part of her design process on sustainability and upcycling, even before the fashion industry at large began taking the concepts seriously.
It was part of the reason why Serre decided to not host a runway show for her spring/summer 2021 collection during Paris Fashion Week. Opting instead to present the collection digitally, Serre told British Vogue: "I wasn't going to ask people to travel—if we can have one more season where people aren't flying and are helping save our planet, then that's something." What ensued is a masterfully produced 13-minute short film, Amor Fati ('love of fate' when translated literally from Latin) that revolves around two central characters and their intertwining fates, set against a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world.
The film begins in a clinical all-white space as Serre's constant collaborator Juliet Merie is looked on by surgeons as she lies on an operating table. The scenes change locales throughout as Merie travels in a sort of dreamscape (and constantly interacts with Iranian-Dutch singer Sevdaliza)—from Mars-like, dusty red-earth landscapes to a dark water-based environment—each with a ceremonial aspect that's overseen by different tribes wearing colour-coded Marine Serre spring/summer 2021. Amor Fati is a cycle of timeless events with the ending reverting back to the original frame in the beginning.
It's definitely a metaphor for what's happening in our lives now, where reality is seemingly being taken over by events and instances that we once only carved out for sci-fi narratives. What is real and what is just a dream? Perhaps the Marine Serre spring/summer 2021 will get us geared up and ready for whatever that future holds; just like how the brand's face masks pre-COVID-19 have unknowingly become our new reality.
Look and feel: The spring/summer 2021 collection relied heavily on Marine Serre's now-signature moon prints in its original form as well as a more geometric iteration that was first seen on the autumn/winter 2020 runway. But more than ever, the collection featured a utilitarian aesthetic that riffed on cycling gear, mountain-climbing harnesses, and scuba outfits.
In true Marine Serre spirit, a lot of the pieces were made from recycled materials and fabrics. The collection's moiré fabric, for instance, was made from recycled fabrics, while the red outfits worn by the 'Moon Salutators' featured pieces upcycled from carpets (a repeated design trope of Serre's).
Favourite looks: The starting menswear look (look 2) employed a brilliant use of the moon print but one that leaned towards tailoring as opposed to its more streetwear-adopted origins. It's such a strong look that it would be difficult to break apart as a standalone suit sans bodysuit, but hey, we're all in for the standout graphic effect. For something a tad more stately, look 21's upcycled carpet top is a piece to covet and a fine example of the level of craftsmanship and aesthetic that makes Marine Serre a fashion force. And because we're still not pandemic-free, look 37's full moon print combination (with balaclava too) will make for a practical and stylish addition.
Favourite accessories: The collection's moiré accessories were a unique interpretation of the material. Look 40's mini backpack attached to the waist by a belt for example, was Serre's version of a bumbag. Other accessories that were designed to be carried as such included a water bottle holder (looks 38 and 39) as well as a smaller compartment that wrapped around the arm (looks 10, 11 and 13) that's reminiscent of those mobile phone armbands that runners would sometimes use.