Marine Serre Explains The Post-Apocalyptic Virtual Reality in Her SS20 Campaign
Move over Star Wars, there’s a new block-busting saga in town. A revolutionary mind kept in a 1.5m-tall body, Marine Serre is a radical visionary with a clear focus on changing the world. The LVMH Prize-winning French designer narrates our futures in a dramatic, sometimes cataclysmic way, but always with a positive outlook on even the gloomiest scenarios. Her SS20 collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week back in September, had a post-apocalyptic storyline, following on from her previous show which was all about going into survival mode with both your lifestyle and wardrobe in order to overcome the annihilation that’s happening around us.
Titling her last collection Marée Noire (French for “oil slick”), Serre presented a feeling of release that happens after a catastrophe, and her just-released campaign captures that same notion. “I prefer to call it a movie,” Serre explains of the moving image piece which picks up where her last one, for AW19, left off. A CGI collaboration with Actual Objects studio and 3D artists Rick Farin and Claire Cochran, the new film carries the name of the collection and imagines a surviving tribe of Serre’s muses emerging from the underworld. Morphing into a state that will allow for them to survive the new conditions on their planet, the film is separated into four parts and follows the catwalk show’s construction of four different tribes.
Eden, The Drought, Breach and The Pass are the four chapters, each shifting the scene and the environment to showcase avatars that were constructed to embody the clothes. “I just feel that the message communicated through a movie is richer in references and gives you the flexibility of crossing boundaries even in the art itself of making it – passing from CGI to real footage is a magical technical achievement,” says Serre. With so much of her work being about blurring the lines between artificial and natural, the use of computer-generated imagery seems like a natural move for the designer. It all started with last season’s campaign, but has now been further explored with even more success by allowing her work to exist and thrive in a virtual reality. “What it is important to know is that in this movie not all CGI effects are produced with the 3D scanning, but sometimes drawn and created directly in CGI. Working in this way gives us more freedom in movement creation, transformation, hybridising…”
This isn’t just a gimmick used for an eye-catching story though. In the use of advanced technologies most designers nostalgically stray away from, Serre finds potential for her audience to experience her garments in a more intimate way. “It is quite interesting because I can go deeper in the performances of the effects even on small details like stitches, movement, volumes, transformation. For example, in a scene you can see the print of our radioactive flower flying away from the dress.”
While her fashion has an almost unidentifiable stream of references, Serre’s films give an insight in her cinematic heroes. On that extensive list, you can find David Lynch and his 1981 adaptation of a sci-fi classic Dune, particularly the character of a bad-ass sisterhood leader Bene Gesserit. The designer’s film vocabulary extends into Alex Garland’s Annihilation and its powerful, hybrid cast as well as a Soviet art-film The Colour of Pomegranate, directed by Sergey Parajanov. However, there’s nothing literal about Marée Noire – its frames are layered with history, fashion, arts and politics, all expertly morphed into a unified vision that so clearly carries the signature of Marine Serre.
So, as with any other cinematic success, the most important question has to be – what about the next one? “Everything we do is a sequel,” Serre exclaims, explaining how the final frame of the dry dunes awaiting to be liberated present the scenery of her upcoming collection for AW20: Mind Melange Motor. For that though, we’ll have to wait for Tuesday, February 25th when her next show is taking place during Paris Fashion Week. Until then, it’s Marée Noire on loop.