There’s a crescent moon print you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. It appears on skin-tight turtlenecks, tops, leggings, and catsuits—with each piece coming in different color combinations. Beyoncé, along with her dancers, wore a custom cocoa colored version in “Black is King,” which, according to fashion search platform Lyst, caused queries for the term "Marine Serre moon bodysuit” to jump by 428 percent. Yung Miami from the City Girls has worn an all-over moon print catsuit. Kylie Jenner wore a matching cream and black set with her daughter, Stormi. And even ASAP Rocky was spotted wearing a black coat with the crescent emblem.
The woman behind the striking symbol is Marine Serre, a 28-year-old designer who is also dedicated to sustainability. But how did she get so popular and appeal to such a wide swath of customers? We are taking a deep dive into Marine Serre, the story behind her print, and how her crescent covered bodysuits, leggings, and tops became the pieces to wear.
Born in Brive-La-Gaillarde, France, Serre studied fashion in Marseille but finished her education at the prestigious Belgian design school La Cambre, where she graduated in 2016 with high honors. Like most college students in their final years, Serre was setting herself up for what would be a pivotal moment in her budding career.
For her graduation show in 2017 titled "Radical Call for Love”—named in response to the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels—she introduced the tiny crescent moon to the world, a logo that would later position Serre as an "It" designer. This collection referenced 19th century billowy dresses and contemporary sportswear. The crescent moon emblem was seen on boots, tops, headpieces, long and full-bodied skirts. She even produced a two-piece suit featuring long, puffy sleeves. “Radical Call for Love” caught the interest of international luxury retailers like Dover Street Market and Parisian concept store The Broken Arm and both stores ended up selling the collection. "When I was doing [my first collection] ‘Radical Call for Love,’ I was really doing it out of love," says Serre in an interview with Garage magazine. At the tender age of 24, her graduation show collection was sold alongside Céline, Raf Simons, Balenciaga, and Loewe. Both The Broken Arm and DSM helped pay for production costs and the collection sold out. It took her by surprise, but it was her hard work and passion that helped her create a strong visual identity early on.
After graduating, Serre interned for Raf Simons during his stint as creative director at Dior, Sarah Burton, then creative director at Alexander McQueen, and Matthieu Blazey, former designer at Margiela (currently at Bottega Veneta). While working at Balenciaga as a designer and running her own label, she won the LVMH Prize, presented by Rihanna at a Paris ceremony in 2017. Serre was one of eight finalists that year who was up for what's considered the industry's most lucrative prize. Along with the award, she received 300,000 euros (about $336,000) and a year of mentoring from those under the LVMH umbrella.
She chose the crescent moon symbol because it speaks to her brand values. "The moon for us is like an icon, an emblem, an image, a representation, a flag, a language, a metaphor, an object of what we believe in crossing boundaries, hybridity, and freedom," Serre tells Dazed. "It keeps evolving with us; it's never stable and timeless at the same time."
The moon represents different things across cultures, from lunar phases to ancient goddesses, to Islamic iconography. Like the Telfar logo, Serre's crescent moon print is instantly recognizable and is now an emblem of a new, progressive fashion era. In 2018, Serre told The Cut, "There are people who think the print is quite radical, and there are others who don’t know anything about politics and think it’s just cute. And this is exactly what I love."
The young French designer has rattled up so much admiration, talk, and curiosity around her brand in a short amount of time. Industry legends like the late Karl Lagerfeld described her as "1m50 but a will of steel." She unintentionally created a status symbol that resonates with customers who believe in her designs and want to show them off on Instagram.
But Serre doesn’t just design bodysuits. She shows upcycled couture gowns, pleated hybrid dresses with a jersey tank, silk jackets, outerwear constructed out of leather and faux fur, in addition to pieces that utilize lace-trimmed tablecloths. She's able to blend sportswear and luxury seamlessly, but she doesn't want to be considered a sportswear designer. "A lot of my work references past things. So for me, past and present and future are the same," Serre told Garage. "I don't think I have one aesthetic, and maybe I try to answer to ‘what is the future’ in a straightforward and honest way, just by thinking, ‘what do you need tomorrow, and what is affecting me today in the garment I have on?’"
Her fashion week debut in 2016 positioned her as a designer to watch. She gave us a glimpse of her forward thinking designs—she showed face masks pre-pandemic.We wouldn’t necessarily call it an overnight success, but it didn't’ take long for celebrities to start sporting her brand. Last year Beyoncé wore a black and red crescent moon set, paired with matching gloves—in which Serre says she bought herself. In a pre-COVID podcast interview with fashion editor Jessica Michault, Serre said she was surprised when she saw pictures of Beyoncé wearing her clothes.
“I was really shocked, like ‘huh, where did she get it?’ It was quite nice. It was a super total look. We also have the ball bag, the first bag we ever made that references a gymnastic ball that she wore. I was super happy that she liked to dress it. It was most important for me that she liked it,” said Serre.
With all the rave around the French designer’s clothing, big brands like Nike reached out. In 2019, the Beaverton sportswear giant tapped Serre, along with Yoon Ahn of AMBUSH, Erin Magee of MadeMe, and Christelle Kocher KOCHÉ, to redesign the iconic FIFA Women’s World Cup football kit. Serre created a bodysuit decorated in her signature moon print with an eye-popping green top worn over the suit. Up until recently, Serre only produced womenswear, but as the brand continued to evolve, she’s leaned into menswear. “I think today, it's super important because you cannot just dress one gender and we’re also all used to exchanging our garments,” says Serre. Earlier this year, ASAP Rocky teased a potential AWGE x Marine Serre collaboration backstage at Paris Fashion Week. In conversation with Vogue, the Harlem rapper said he co-designed the black puffer coat with an all-over moon print he was wearing. It’s still unknown whether that piece will be a part of a wider collection, but if Serre sticks to her ethos, she will continue to be a designer who captures the zeitgeist.