Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021 Reviews: Marine Serre and Ottolinger

This is our unfiltered review of the first ever digital Paris Fashion Week. Here, stay up to date on all the top spring/summer 2021 Paris Fashion Week shows.

For the first time in history, Paris Fashion week is going digital with the Spring 2021 shows. In summer 2020, we saw the first ever Paris couture shows  go digital. Now, we get to see how the ready-to-wear designers are doing things.

It’s not surprising: due to the pandemic, fashion weeks worldwide are being cancelled and postponed. In lieu of live runway shows, brands are putting together digital content (mainly videos) to showcase their latest collections. As such, the majority of the Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week collections are being presented as digital-only activations, except for a few brand such as Chanel, Coperni, Dior and a few others who are reportedly hosting in-person shows with limited audiences (and, of course, a digital component.)

At Couture Week, we saw everything from 3D virtual models to advertorial-like videos that felt like commercials. Given that Paris Fashion Week is always the pinnacle of fashion month, with many of the top designers presenting as well as a host of the most in-demand emerging brands, it’ll be interesting to see how designers approach the new world of fashion shows during a pandemic.

I’m interested to see how labels can take these elements of the digital world and go forward with fashion week in a new and innovative way. For now, I don’t think doing strictly video is the right move. Come back daily to read our highlights from each day of Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021.

Here, some mini reviews of the standout shows of the Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week Day 2:

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021: Marine Serre Spring 2021

True to the rising designer’s signature apocalyptic aesthetic (read our studio tour with the designer last season, in W Magazine here), Marine Serre’s collection this season incorporated face coverings, face shields and futuristic skin-like bodysuits rendered in her classic crescent moon print. In place of a normal show, the designer produced a 10+ minute short film in collaboration with directors Sacha Barbin and Ryan Doubiago, and composer Pierre Rousseau. Iranian-Dutch singer Sevdaliza and the French artist Juliet Merie, (a close friend of the designer) star in the film.

Titled AMOR FATI, the mini movie shows scenes of transformation, as characters come alive through various mutations in contrasting scenes. There’s a clinical-like lab, an underwater oasis and a natural landscape.

Throughout the collection, there’s a lot of utilitarian details, with tech-y fabrics (biodegradable nylon) and their contrasting opposites (recycled moire). In particular, this makes the collection feel all the more relevant for our times right now. There’s something interesting about cargo pants mixed with tailoring, but what was most intriguing were the little details: especially the very first three-strand pearl necklace flanked with a compass in the center, placed on the model who lay on the lab table. The word “dystopian” comes to mind.

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021: Ottolinger Spring 2021

Each season the strength of Berlin based Ottolinger is its individuality. And this season did not disappoint. The designers, Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, focused on the idea of what empowerment means. “For us, this means creating clothes that empower all of us, make us feel strong, more self-confident and ultimately celebrate the unique beauty of every one of us. Clothes which embrace change and give us all of the superpower we need to sustain ourselves and become whoever we want to be,” they said of the inspiration behind the collection.

In a lot of ways, Ottolinger’s Spring 2021 collection felt like an evolution for the brand. The quirky bags, previously rendered in silicone and ceramics, were accented in marabou or redone in what looked like metallic leathers.

As for the presentation, the brand put together a 2+ minute video showcasing the models in indoor-outdoor settings that merged reality with the imaginative world. CGI interacted with the models faces, transforming them into alien characters or humans with elfin ears. Exactly like the kind of filters we’ve all been playing with at home during quarantine on Instagram. The bodies distorted in width and height, shifting the focus of what was real and what wasn’t. As an aside, it was nice to see one model above the standard size that wasn’t the same famous name. Next season’s must-have? The puffy strapped heels are sure to be as popular as the brand’s iconic bags.

paris fashion week spring 2021 review ottolinger

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