WORDS BY ASHLEIGH GRIBBON
From Beyoncé to Blackpink, Adele to Ariana Grande, the celebrity-fan roster of Marine Serre has serious A-list appeal. Since being awarded the prestigious LVMH prize in 2017, the French designer’s eponymous label has gone from strength to strength, quickly garnering a loyal cult following thanks to her instantly recognizable crescent-moon logo. It’s a buzz that’s only been heightened by the recent release of Beyoncé’s latest visual album, Black Is King, in which the star wears one of the brand’s now-iconic second-skin bodysuits.
The self-coined term ‘Marine Serre Futurewear’ speaks to the label’s pioneering approach to sustainability – every Marine Serre collection is designed in a mix of upcycled fabrics and innovative biodegradable materials – and modern visual design codes. For the crescent-moon print, the designer drew inspiration from a traditional Islamic motif, emblazoning it on many of the label’s signature pieces including leggings, catsuits and jersey tops.
Marine Serre’s boundary-pushing vision pays testament to her impressive experience in design; she previously worked under Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons at Dior and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, before starting her own eponymous line in 2017. The Paris-based designer also released her debut menswear collection in 2019. Here, we speak to Marine Serre on dressing for the future, her conscious approach to fashion, and her favourite pieces from the new fall collection. Read the designer’s full interview and shop the key pieces below.
Can you explain Marine Serre’s conscious approach?
'Since its inception in 2017, Marine Serre has been defined as “ecofuturist”, aiming to shake up the industry with a revolutionary ecological shift. Our conscious approach has evolved around rethinking new chains of production and making progress on climate neutrality, circularity, and the resilience of products. We work with regenerated garments to design and produce new garments based on end-of-life products and want to maintain a coherence between what we do, what we are and where we are, whilst deeply considering the environment. As an independent brand, we [want to] service our common future, towards feminism, body consciousness, hybridity and diversity – taken together as “ecofuturism”. The pandemic has reinforced this belief and encouraged us to continue on [this] path.’
What design, fabric and production innovations set Marine Serre apart?
'Marine Serre is about “futurewear” – our garments answer daily needs. Hybridization is the trademark of our designs, along with body consciousness and practicality – these are some of the key words that define Marine Serre garments. Our innovative approach is strongly linked to the materials we source and regenerate. Since our SS20 Marée Noire show, half of our collections are composed of regenerated products, and the other half are made from innovative and eco-sustainable fabrics, such as biodegradable fibres, recycled nylon yarn and material entirely produced by recycling plastic bottles.
We want to be transparent and honest in [everything we do], and our ‘ecofuturist’ approach aims to make an ecological shift – the circularity [element of this approach] is to recycle and regenerate materials that already exist; climate neutrality focuses on reducing travel, [combining] shows and producing [pieces] locally; resilience is a call to be humble and a reminder not to exploit the resources that the earth has to offer. We need to consider the environment in its larger possible definition, and react wisely to that.’
How does this translate into the fall 2020 collection?
'We've established four different lines in our collection structure, and season after season, we improve and reshape our offering and the way we produce [these pieces]. We’ve just recently released a new line, Borderline. They’re [for styling] underneath main garments; pieces that have direct contact with your skin.
The White line is [made up of] practical [base layers]. The goal is to make this line more accessible: we’ve tried to reduce the price to allow everyone to have access to our ecofuturistic dogma. These pieces complement the more complex pieces within the Gold line – the [runway collection which is a core part] of our brand identity. [These show pieces] redefine garment functionality, regenerating and hybridizing to create pieces of our future. Our design experimentation is taken to the limit in Red line, [a couture collection] with total creative freedom. This line is defined by unique artisanal pieces, where hybridity and regenerating procedures characterize an exclusive red-carpet offering.
In our Regenerated program, end-of-life products are used as a base to produce new, desirable pieces. But most importantly, we work hard to develop the use of biodegradable material, recycled fibres and artisanal techniques to produce the other half of our offering. We want people to understand that the main purpose of the brand is an ecofuturist approach.’
Can you talk through some of the key pieces from this collection?
'One key piece in the FW20 Mind Melage Motor collection is the Regenerated Balaclava. It’s an essential for the winter months, protecting you from the cold while creating a stylish, mysterious look. This head piece is made from crazy vintage pullovers sourced in the Netherlands. Due to the regenerated nature of the materials used, each design is one of a kind – and it’s this feature that makes every piece more unique and precious to each customer. The collection takes place in a sandy landscape, inspired by earth’s tones with a prominent use of knitwear. The translation of this design is oriented towards a total protection from the hostile weather while remaining attractive and fun.
Another key piece is the Regenerated Scarves Hybrid Wrap Dress. This design is a combination of a streamlined second-skin top, part realized in an upcycled jersey, with an attached wrap dress made from upcycled silk scarves. I like this piece because of its hybridity – you can feel feminine, athletic, practical, and still able to ride a bike.
For the FW20 collection, brocade carpets from the 1960s, [sourced] from Belgium, were the predominantly used material. We used them not only to make regenerated garments but to build the set design of our Mind Melage Motor show venue, too. The stories that these carpets carry are infinite and precious; I immediately fell in love with this material, which became the most important element in the collection. With it, we designed dresses, tops and skirts which you can find paired with regenerated denim and moon jerseys.’