PARIS, France — Marine Serre’s engagement in creative solutions to the environmental issues that are overwhelming humankind has shaped her career in fashion. How great a challenge is it to stay optimistic in the face of the tunnel-visioned self-interest that motivates our “leaders”? Serre’s new show offered an answer. Game over. We’re post-apocalyptic cave-dwellers. The caves in question were wine cellars hewn from rock somewhere on the outskirts of Paris.
Serre called her collection Radiation. Some of the models had glowingly irradiated eyelashes. Others were dressed in outfits decorated with shells, rings, coins, driftwood, fetishized talismans of a vanished civilization. One outfit – imagine it as the eveningwear of a fierce-eyed priestess – was draped to the floor with scarves and pelts. It trailed filigree chains, like souvenirs of some long-forgotten finery.
The apocalypso was Serre’s window-dressing for a collection that featured her signature repurposing of familiarity. A tartan blanket became a poncho or, more ingeniously, a tiny wrap dress. Scarves were effortlessly bias-cut into cocktail attire. There was a MadMax glamour in tailored coats trimmed with eruptions of shearling.
In such an environment, protection would clearly be key. There was an astronaut in Serre’s outerwear. There was also padded-sleeve medievalism. Imagine her caves as history’s sump, where the detritus of centuries collected. In that light – and with her irradiated scenario – the collection could have been a lot more energized by dystopia. Serre called her new beings “hallucinauts.” I couldn’t help feeling they should have been more interestingly dressed. But in the end, she insisted on optimism. “The future has begun,” was the sign-off on her shownotes. There’ll be untold hordes who’ll be gratified to learn it doesn’t look that much different from the past.