Core. Marine Serre AW21

Digital Paris Fashion Week started today, and it hit off with Marine Serre‘s “Core” collections. We’ve got used to Serre’s dystopian visions, which appeared to be ironically precise (she pioneered face masks on the runway seasons ago…). However, her autumn-winter 2021 line-up is all about optymism and hope. The collection wasn’t heralded by a shallow short movie,  but by a website, http://www.marineserrecore.com, which went live at her regular spot on the Paris schedule. The website is a chronicle of all that goes into her designs, and ergo her view of the world, as much as it is a reveal of her new offering and a joyful, life-affirming celebration of family, friends, and community. “Core means the core of the brand, in much the same way as the idea of the core of a computer,” Serre said during a preview. “It’s all of the memory; how everything connects. Pragmatically,” she went on to say, “it’s been three years since we began. We’ve been doing a lot, being an extremely creative brand; we felt the urge to talk, ring the bell, raise the alarm, and reflect that in what we’ve created. This is maybe another moment. An opportunity to look at the interesting processes we’ve put in place; to really think about the garments and the materials we make them from – the transformation of those is really part of our creativity.” The collection is essentially a blueprint of all that Serre has accomplished since she launched the label, filled with her signatures. It’s also a pretty breathtaking and brilliant statement of what can be achieved in the space of three short years; what can emerge when you harness talent with a clear sense of purpose and convictions about what constitutes your values.

There are plenty of Serre’s upcycled silk scarves, draped around sinuous black dresses, which have been accessorized with talismanic metal belts and petite chain-strap bags, while other scarves have been worked into tunics and tees. Deadstock leather in shades of black, tan, and brown is graphically patched, with an anthropomorphic feel into blazers with squared-off shoulders, biker pants, and jeans-style jackets, sometimes layered up with short dresses created out of antique tablecloths. And the now iconic crescent-moon-motif-embellished bodysuits and regenerated denim or else was mixed with more hybridity in the form of sweaters and dresses collaged out of upcycled knits. All of this was shot on a terrific cross-generational cast of characters, kids included. “It was interesting to revise what we’d already done,” said Serre. “Basically the goal was to bring more real life to our design process, to bring garments into daily life.” Her solution was to ask the team to try things on, give their feedback, then modify to make everything more relatable. The website also houses a charming series of depictions of those within the extended Serre label family, wearing a few of the pieces, and engaged with their routines. “Cooking, spending time with your mother, in the garden, playing with your dog…pleasures which are simple,” said Serre, describing the scenes. “Fashion has always been about a dream, and I don’t like that. Here, fashion is the last thing you see. What you see first are the people.” Serre’s thinking about the site is akin to the way she thinks about her designs. Visit, spend time, come back, visit again, get to know what something means and what it stands for. Nothing should ever be fleeting, or disposable, gone in the blink of an eye.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Fam. The Elder Statesman Resort 2019

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Greg Chait‘s Los Angeles-based label, The Elder Statesman, is where you go for the finest cashmere sweater (and not necessarily in a controlled, classic shade of beige). But for the last few seasons, Chait transforms The Elder Statesman from high price point brand to a lifestyle, that is open to questioning the pretentious term ‘luxury’. The resort 2019 look-book has a message. True, living your life in a Swiss silk knit (!) or a tie-dyed sweater from the softest wool must be a pleasure. But the photographed family (that travels Europe in a lorry truck, selling vintage and surfing where possible) suggests that ultimate luxury is not what you wear. It’s the freedom. And what goes with freedom, being not attached to anything conforming, for example trends or other conventions. Moreover, Chait represents unique style and the practicality of his clothing: how it can be combined, mixed, layred. Love that. Another conclusion: being a dad in those blue overalls or that vintage-y orange-pink jacket must be fun! If I ever enter fatherhood, I will surely look at The Elder Statesman’s collections for day-to-day outfit inspiration. As if I wasn’t peeking at it now…

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Men’s / Family Man. Balenciaga SS18

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First thing I had on my mind, while watching Balenciaga‘s spring-summer 2018, was the photo of my dad carrying toddler-me in a park. He was wearing a pair of too big pants, a huge anorak and a quite unflattering knitted sweater. In other words – he looked like a Balenciaga model, who has just walked down the runway in the Bois de Boulogne park.

So what’s Demna Gvasalia up to this season? “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing young dads with their kids,” he said. The designer invited his friends from Zürich (the city of Vetements’ new HQ), who have kids; some models were street-casted a few days before the show in Paris; others where simply teen-aged sons and daughters of creatives, who work at Balenciaga. The idea of tranquility, peace, everyday pleasures like a walk to the park with your kid, appeals to Gvasalia since he ended with his night-life period. Comfort is a keyword this season, as the Balenciaga man simply goes to the suburbs, wearing his fashion-unconscious white shirt, a drapey jacket and bleached jeans. With a Balenciaga bike, of course, nearly sold-out at Colette right now.

Also, this collection is the undisputable peak of ugliness (in case of clothing). However, it’s real. And Demna loves to find inspiration in reality. While last men’s season was all about corporate dressing, this time it’s about the same men, but on the weekends.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.