In 2018, Michael Pollan’s book How To Change Your Mind topped the New York Times best-seller list, chronicling the author’s experience micro-dosing LSD. He certainly wasn’t the first creative to turn to psychedelics as a source of inspiration, but he found himself at the forefront of a cultural shift in interest around such substances. This season, New York Fashion Week has followed suit, bringing it into the creative spotlight yet again, lightheartedly incorporating tie-dye and even fungi into their Spring/Summer 2022 designs.
Whatever your stance may be, there’s no denying the presence of trippy motifs on the runways — a continuation of swirls, checks, and ‘60s and ‘70s references that have dominated collections over the last year. It also shouldn’t be all too surprising that after some 18 months spent at home, with not many ways to blow off steam and not many excuses to get playful with fashion, designers are offering fashion as a vehicle of escapism.
Perhaps the most literal take on the trend was at Friday night’s Brandon Maxwell show. Walking into the presentation, guests stepped into a black-lit Brooklyn warehouse with posters of mushrooms plastered across the walls. The clothes, which still stayed true to Maxwell’s signature preppy aesthetic, included candy-hued and monochromatic swirl pieces as well as sweatshirts with mushrooms front and center. Maxwell explained in a YouTube video that it was a joyful collection he would have been afraid to show six years ago: “I’m not scared today, I feel good.”
At Rodarte, fungi prints popped up again, but the collection also leaned into the cultural cues of the ‘70s, finishing the show with a group of plain, nude dresses that had a cult-ish feel when presented together. Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the L.A-based label, played to their home city’s sunny disposition with quirky, lighthearted designs. Not afraid to get creative and lean into the ornate, the duo also presented an alien-emblazoned look that had the feel of an illustration dreamed up on a trip — though a good or bad one is not all too clear.
At Monse, mushrooms appeared again as part of a quirky print that also featured climbers, televisions, and flowers — an assortment that, while quirky, fit the bill of the label’s outside-of-the-box takes on workwear and dressing up (the brand has presented equally unusual board game and clock prints before). Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim found inspiration for the collection in the trips that both have taken over the pandemic, and they’ve aptly amassed them all into a single mash-up.