#SuzyPFW: Young Designers Create Fashion That Transports
Out of the Stygian gloom of an underground passageway, figures emerged saturated in purple, while other colours appeared as a furry scarlet collar or even as a grass-green coat.
Marine Serre was sending her collection through what she called ‘an apocalyptic underground’, even if it was actually part of the most traditional of Parisian places: a wine cellar.
“An apocalypse may happen in the world – probably soon – then we will all be, like today, a community going under the ground, recreating a new kind of society. That’s what I am trying to make happen today, but also as something positive,” the young designer said.
Marine has developed her codes so fast that the crescent moons that she launched from the start have now become almost familiar, even if in this Autumn/Winter collection there were more dramatic animalistic drawings, as though discovered in a prehistoric cave.
But she included other codes, with the signs of the zodiac as a pattern, while gilded chains circled the waist.
Then there were the alarm warnings: Was it really so stuffy that a green-plaid coat had to be accessorised with a gas mask for better breathing? Or was a puffer-top trimmed with fake gorilla fur meant to create a primaeval effect?
The clothes were both upsetting and exciting – surely the designer’s intention – as her show notes talked of ‘a new pluriversal mode’ to battle ‘a hostile old world’.
“Deep down, I just feel that some stuff is not really going well so, yes, I’m trying to find a way for myself and hopefully for people who want to follow,” Serre said.
“If you stop the craziness, you will see fantasy also, and probably fun. But I think you need to be quite engaged and have persistence to actually survive.
“We are just trying to grow slowly with no big, big things. Just continuing and surviving,” she said.
I wished, since the late designer Karl Lagerfeld was such a firm supporter of Marine Serre, that he could have been there to watch her grow.
Jacquemus by Simon Porte
The set was enchanting: a South-of-France cluster of village houses in sweet soft turquoise, pink and sunshine yellow with a street sign for rue le Corbusier, suggesting an artistic inspiration from the modernist architect.
Simon Porte Jacquemus talked about his passion for colour and for art, but also that he wanted to move his collection away from the Riviera towards something more grounded.
So the colours for this Autumn/Winter 2019 season were as vivid as the set, with a shocking-pink coat, an orange skirt or a sky-blue top. But the effect was also made with cream colours, especially when they included pieces of art, as though the designer had scissored abstract patterns from a gallery and rehung them on a dress.
“I wanted to find the right balance, because the seasons were Mediterranean and sensual, and people expect me to be only in that direction,” Simon Porte said. “But I have so much else to say about art, for example. I wanted to find a balance between the artsy mood that I had at the beginning – like the ‘Barefoot Girl’ of Picasso – and the sensuality of this collection.”
It made for an interesting combination from a designer who, last season, had focused on the body beautiful, undressed for beaches in the South of France, but who was now offering something more sophisticated.
“It is called ‘La Collectionneuse’ – someone who collects things, as I do for a Memphis print or for jeans inspired by painters that I love,” said the designer. “Also, there is much more masculinity. The feminine side is large silk suits and trompe-l’œil knitwear. I was also obsessed with doing something a bit warmer than the last winter collection, so there were scarves and big coats – but keeping something of summer as well.”
Significant too is the fact that the Jacquemus clothes sell at a more reasonable price than most designer offerings. This means that Simon Porte produces something rare in fashion: clothes with a soul that are both striking – as in a sunshine-yellow or an animal-print coat – and obtainable.