A Rebours (Against Nature), a novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans (1884), forms the basis of the inspiration behind Roman Serra’s London Collage of Fashion womenswear graduate collection. The story follows the life of Jean de-Esseintes, a member of a powerful and once proud noble family, who lived an extremely decadent life in Paris, which left him disgusted with human society. Eccentric, hedonist and idealistic he escapes to the countryside, filling his new home with his eclectic art collection, including an embellished live turtle, artificial indoor gardens, religious symbolism, opulent furniture and extravagant clothing. He finally mutates into a masterpiece within a world of his own creation.
Serra’s interpretation of Against Nature sees a female protagonist, disgusted with modern society, flee to an isolated manor, decorated in a world of her own creation. In the story At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, which accompanies the collection, it maps out a day in her life. From rising from her slumber, tending to her garden and creatures, to an offering to Le Sacre Coeur. The tale sees the conceptual embodiment of her overly stimulated environment become part of her body, dressing it for every occasion of her day.
Serra finds relation to such excess in the modern world, a moment where everything is available immediately. He endeavours to comment and explore the value of decadence and maximalism through the combined use and application of multiple printed and textured fabrics, embroidery, crochet and jacquard. The prints are conceptualised and formed through his continued series of paintings and illustration work, inspired by Against Nature, but staying true to his Mexican heritage and influence. Mexican artisans and craftsmanship are celebrated through the use of hand-blown recycled glass ornaments, prayer miracles, hand-made buttons and hand-crochet trim.
Serra seeks to pursue a greener production of fashion, sourcing all materials for the collection through sustainable suppliers or using up-cycled fabrics found throughout his wanders in the city. Sponsorship from Candiani Denim finished using sustainable laser, washing and finishing technologies by Tonello machinery formed the basis of his collection. Along with upcycled materials, and sustainably produced and digitally printed fabrics in original hand-painted prints.