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The young de­signer lead­ing the way in sus­tain­able fash­ion

‘THE MOON HAS GONE VI­RAL. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that,’ says de­signer Marine Serre when we meet in Paris. The 26-year-old isn’t talk­ing about plan­e­tary health (or lack thereof), de­spite be­ing among those chal­leng­ing the fash­ion in­dus­try’s view of sus­tain­abil­ity. What Serre is re­fer­ring to is the cres­cent-moon logo that has come to sig­nify the brand she launched in 2O16, ap­pear­ing as prints and dis­creet mo­tifs on body­suits and bias-cut silk dresses worn by Ri­hanna, Dua Lipa and Cate Blanchett.

Sus­tain­abil­ity is im­plicit in what Serre does, with re­pur­posed fab­rics (from vin­tage silks to even gym balls) mak­ing up 3O% of her AW18 col­lec­tion. ‘But I don’t use that word,’ she says. ‘It’s more about in­vent­ing and re­think­ing pro­duc­tion.’ It’s also about mak­ing sus­tain­able prac­tices so nor­mal that they needn’t dis­tract from the fact these are great clothes – ‘At the end of the day, I want to show you some­thing you re­ally de­sire,’ she says.

Serre’s AW18 col­lec­tion – the first fol­low­ing her LVMH Prize win in 2O17 – is a prag­matic re­sponse to the chal­lenges of ev­ery­day life. Denim and sa­fari jack­ets come with con­cealed pock­ets and re­mov­able sleeves (a three-for-one deal, as those pock­ets are big enough to carry a S’well bot­tle and purse, re­mov­ing the need for a hand­bag), ‘so you can be prac­ti­cal and quick; you can get things done’. There’s also form-fit­ting Ly­cra and the kind of un­fussy clothes that wouldn’t look out of place on a milk run. But then Serre throws mo­tor­cy­cle leathers and trail­ing silks on top of those moon-print base lay­ers, be­cause this isn’t just about func­tion; it’s fash­ion. ‘Fash­ion with no bull­shit,’ she laughs. There’s an up­beat rad­i­cal­ism to Serre’s style and char­ac­ter. She isn’t crit­i­cis­ing fash­ion, es­pe­cially since she’s worked for some of the in­dus­try’s big­gest brands: Alexan­der McQueen, Mai­son Margiela, Dior by Raf Si­mons and Ba­len­ci­aga. It was dur­ing this time, fol­low­ing her stud­ies at Bel­gium’s pres­ti­gious L’École de la Cam­bre, that she de­vel­oped the craft skills that en­able her to ex­e­cute those tech­ni­cal, multi-pock­eted gar­ments with such ease. ‘The big houses shaped me and made me think about vol­ume and at­ti­tude,’ she says. Her grand­fa­ther’s work with an­tiques also in­stilled in her an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of used ma­te­ri­als and ob­jects. ‘I have a back­ground in look­ing at things that seem like they have no value, so I thought I would use vin­tage silks.’

Serre in­tends to pur­sue new means of pro­duc­tion with her next col­lec­tion. ‘I’d like to ex­plore new fab­rics, be­cause “Fu­tureWear” [the motto printed on her cloth­ing] is about ask­ing ques­tions in or­der to move for­ward – how we live to­day, what we should change.’ And change, she says, starts with young de­sign­ers cir­cum­vent­ing the sys­tem and forg­ing their own paths. ‘Big houses are iconic, with a huge his­tory. But it’s 2O18. We have a lot of dif­fer­ent ways to be­come iconic.’ And for Serre, push­ing the bound­aries of sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion is one of them. mari­ne­

AWARD-WIN­NER Ri­hanna pre­sented Serre with the LVMH Prize in2O17Word­s by SARAMcALPI­NETHE COL­LEC­TION For AW18, Serre fused ath­leisure with util­i­tar­ian lux­ury

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