Lee Alexander McQueen performed his show in New York twice, first in 1996 with Dante and again in 1999 for Eye. The 1999 show would be one of the wettest in fashion history, with torrential rain flooding the streets and a runway submerged in inches of water. Sarah Burton was with him on both trips, and tonight he returned to New York to showcase his Fall 2022 collection for the brand. “America and New York have always been such an important part of McQueen,” he said backstage. “He feels like a member of our creative community. It’s great to honor that.”
This show was also rooted in the elements, although its focus was not water, but land. Piles of mulch made from fallen trees smelled like peat at the Brooklyn warehouse site (it will be reused in plantings, he said), and birds and insects chirped from high above. speakers before the soundtrack settled into the beat of “To Forest.” by The Cure. Behind the scenes, Burton was talking about the mycelium, the network of underground fungi sometimes called nature’s “wide web of wood” that connects trees to each other and transfers nutrients and minerals from plant to plant.
The humble mushroom has come into mainstream psychedelics in recent years, but Burton laughed off a question about microdosing. “What I really love is that the trees talk to each other and heal each other,” he began. “The thing is that they heal, but they are also toxic. There is a danger for them. One pair of robes was fantastically embroidered with mushrooms whose brilliant colors, according to Burton, were drawn from real life, their mycelium represented by long skeins of silk fringe. It could well have been dosed if its effect was lysergic. A few unbuttoned sweaters were almost as awesome.