There is a lot more to the story than just aesthetics. The health, self-care, and climate change benefits of mushrooms are particularly relevant: Health obsessive buying ingredients containing reishi skin care products to calm inflammation, stir chaga into coffee to boost immunity, and full tripped to treat anxiety and depression. Good literally put on our mushroom obsession after Hermès and Stella McCartney “skin” mushroom products–Billed as a low-impact alternative to animal hides – is becoming mainstream. (Until then, you might consider being on the waiting list for Eden Power Corp. bucket hat, made of one – enormous! —Mammadou mushroom.)
Much of our interest in mushrooms can be attributed to a desire to reconnect with the outside world, a natural reaction after our years of lockdown. But in my opinion, the story isn’t mushrooms at all – it’s mycelium. Stay with me here: The mycelium is the underground network of thread-like branches that grow under fungi and mushrooms, connecting every living plant and tree and facilitating the exchange of nutrients, destroying decaying matter, regenerating the earth, and even absorb carbon. It is now understood that the mycelium helps plants and trees “communicate” and support each other; in a documentary Fantastic Mushrooms, the mycelium is aptly described as the natural internet, or “wide web of wood”. The area is the same: For every step we take, there are roughly 300 miles of mycelium stretching beneath the surface.
The mycelium has been used for clean up oil spills and can even be new, biodegradable construction material. However, it’s the more poetic mycelium stories of harmony, connection, and balance that can literally change the way we live on earth – and that’s what designers love the most. “[It’s an idea that] really touched me, “said Iris van Herpen in January, “Because in my opinion last year was, for me, and I think all of us, [one] isolation and separation. And of course it’s wonderful to see nature and how nature is connected in very similar ways [to] how we communicate. “
Inspired by the book Merlin Sheldrake A Bonded Life: How Fungi Made Our WorldThe Van Herpen, 2021 spring couture collection is an aswirl with hypha-like embellishments and a more pronounced nod to mushrooms, like a fanned dress reminiscent of a chanterelle. His couturier partner Rahul Mishra presented her own, more literal mushroom: Her Spring 2021 lineup featured a mini dress consisting entirely of hand-embroidered mushrooms and layered flowing gowns to mimic a shelf of mushrooms growing from a tree. They are not funny; it’s an incredibly intricate and handcrafted piece of art that most of us will never see or wear IRL on. On the contrary, Mishra hopes they will inspire us to rethink our relationship with the outside world and let nature guide our decisions. “The fungus creates rebirth in its true sense,” he said. “They are masterpieces of engineering on their own.”