Marine Serre and Weinsanto explore alternative universes in Paris
An authentic fan phenomenon occurred in Paris on the night of Monday, September 27, as Marine Serre brought her latest collection, "Fichu Pour Fichu," to the French capital's Musée Carnavalet, closing the first day of Paris Fashion Week. Her faithful followers showed up in force, jostling in the narrow streets of Le Marais, all instantly recognizable in their urban subculture-like uniform, with crescent moons splashed across tops and leggings, pointy boots, denim jackets and even futuristic masks – not to mention the white scarves which, as a nod to the title of the collection, served as the show's invitations.
Illuminated by a faint orange light, the gardens of the museum dedicated to the history of Paris welcomed the show's guests, who were subjected to intense health security checks upon arrival. A dozen models, lined up in an orderly fashion in the portico that separated the different areas of the gardens, dominated the attention of the attendees, who whipped out their phones in order to immortalize every detail of the pieces: from delicate embroidery to traditional crochet, via cutlery-inspired jewelry and the label of a pink and purple denim jacket announcing that it had been manufactured using recycled jeans. Indeed, the designer's collection for Spring/Summer 2022 is her most sustainable offering yet, having been produced using 45% recycled and 45% reclaimed materials.
Marine Serre stages a futuristic return to her roots
The voice of Marine Serre herself gave the signal to start the projection of "Ostal 24," a video whose title references the word "house" in Occitan, the language of the designer's home region. This short, 13-minute film, which is already available on the brand's website, stood in for a traditional runway show and represented the continuation of the partnership between the designer, winner of the LVMH prize in 2017, and her collaborators, Sacha Barbin and Ryan Doubiago, which began with their collaboration for her Spring/Summer 2021 collection, "Amor Fati."
The contemplative video, which echoed with the experience of lockdown, presented the "optimistic vision" of the designer, as she reflects on how life will be when there are fewer restrictions and the risk of falling back into "old habits" looms. The audiovisual presentation's silent characters came together for a day of communal experiences, during which they carried out actions repeated during the recent months of confinement, from meditation to yoga, dance to tableside family encounters. Everybody wore designs that reflected a kind of archaeology of the past, constructed around the combination and transformation of pieces of fabric taken from home textiles, such as napkins and tablecloths. Deadstocks of leather were also given a second life, while jeans were refreshed and dyed in unique color gradients.
The homely touch could also be seen in the cutlery reinterpreted as earrings and necklaces, as well as in traditional elements, such as crocheted blankets and avant-garde harvest scenes. Overall, there was a bucolic aesthetic, including characteristic Marine Serre patchwork prints in blue and orange tones, which appeared in flowing asymmetrical dresses, leggings and full bodysuits. Linen and cotton were used in pure white looks, some of which featured the designer's early embroidery, or in pieces with lace-like stitching, while recycled silk served to make new collage dresses and corn-fiber textiles were employed in 90s-style shirts. Special mention also goes to the oversized rain coats with visors in shades of chocolate and intense fuchsia.
"I want people to feel the beauty and simplicity of being together and for them to rediscover the happiness of cooking, eating, dancing, doing yoga," explained Serre, adding, "when we are making choices that have an impact every day, how can we be more responsible with the decisions we make? Fashion is more than draping fabric and making a profit. It can be a space where we're free to take meaningful action."
Alsatian tradition, acrobatics and drag queens at Weinsanto
Only one hour before and a matter of meters away from the media frenzy that was the Marine Serre show, young, pink-haired designer Victor Weinsanto took over an hôtel particulier on the same street, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, in order to show his third collection, "Hopla Geiss." The show had something of the private performance about it and boasted just over 100 guests, including fellow designers, such as the duo behind EgonLab – the brand that claimed the 2021 Andam Prize's Pierre Bergé Award, or Simon Porte Jacquemus, accompanied, as always, by his dog Toutou. Other attendees included Germain Louvet, of the Opéra de Paris, and drag queen Nicky Doll, who participated in the 12th season of hit TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.
Trained at Jean-Paul Gaultier, 27-year-old Weinsanto presented a theatrical show with elements of circus, reflected in the performances of his diverse and inclusive cast, which ranged from short scenes, to dance and gymnastics, via a hypnotic session of acrobatics in front of a reinterpretation of a floral patio. This scenery was also brought into corsetry, draperies and satiny fabrics, pieces with plunging necklines, and fitted, transparent black bodysuits. Bleached, distressed denim appeared in a handful of more street-style looks that were responsible for lightening up and balancing out the drama provided by the voluptuous dresses in tones of fuchsia, violet and black, and the lingerie-like propositions with shimmering capes.
Mixed in with all of this were illustrations by Clément Louis in tribute to Weinsanto's favorite model and muse, Queentoide, as well as references to Alsatian culture. XXL versions of the region's characteristic bows and headdresses topped looks, as did reinterpretations of pretzels, while kelsch, a linen and cotton fabric made in Alsace, was used to bring some couture creations to life and certain giant bags referenced the typical kougelhopf cake.
"This collection is a tribute to my origins, to Alsace. I wanted to present a very personal collection about my story, mixing feelings and family memories," explained a visibly emotional Weinsanto after the show. "I wanted to use humor and change the meaning of these traditional codes, honored by my grandmothers," he continued. As it happens, one of these grandmothers also played a part in the runway presentation, as her voice could be heard in the recording of the regional song used to open the show.
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