In the midst of a dark world, many designers see it as their job to provide people with a little bit of optimism and delightful fantasy. Not so for Marine Serre: this season, the French designer instead doubled down on the apocalyptic vision she’s been presenting for years. In fact, she may have finally pushed that vision over the edge of “apocalyptic” squarely into the realm of “horror” for Spring 2021, which was presented in a short film format.
The film, which was created in collaboration with directors Sacha Barbin and Ryan Doubiago and composer Pierre Rousseau, feels like something out of a science fiction nightmare. It starts with a neutered, naked body lying prone on a table while figures dressed in matching outfits — patterned head-to-toe in Marine Serre’s signature crescent — begin to tattoo the lying figure with (what else?) that same crescent. Scenes meander through sterile, clinical-looking environments to an outdoor landscape that would’ve reminded one of a foreign planet, if it weren’t for the wildfires in California recently painting the sky there a similar hue.
Characters are all clothed in Marine Serre, of course, and they do seem outfitted for the apocalypse, whether it comes from climate breakdown or pandemics or societal collapse. Masks and face shields abound, as do skintight catsuits and industrial-looking harnesses. It’s not clear exactly what’s happening in the world of Marine Serre’s Spring 2021 film, but it’s clearly menacing: tentacles reach out of the ground to grab people, surgeons perform medical procedures not intended to heal, living fishhooks extend from fingertips to puncture eyeballs.
In a world increasingly full of real-life horrors, Serre’s betting that some people will have the instinct to turn and face the encroaching darkness rather than ignoring it. And if the designer PPE presented in the film make it to production, their inevitable adoption by the high fashion set will only serve to prove that the gap between her vision and our current pandemic- and climate crisis-shaped reality isn’t as far apart as we might like to think.
See every look from the Marine Serre Spring 2021 collection in the gallery below, then watch the full film here.