My Moon Is in Prada: Exploring the Influence of Astrology on Fashion

Can astrology and mysticism save flailing fashion sales? Faran Krentcil manifests some answers.
NETHERLANDS – CIRCA 1660: Andreas Cellarius (1596-1665) was a Dutch-German cartographer. He is best known for his Harmonia Macrocosmica of 1660, a major star atlas, published by Johannes Janssonius in Amsterdam. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

At the start of the Spring 2024 runway shows, a calamity: Mercury was retrograde, and the cosmic effects of astrology’s most dreaded season were proving their might. Among the casualties were a Paris robbery that swiped 50 Balmain showroom samples, a PETA catwalk crasher at Gucci in Milan, and a New York traffic jam so bad, it kept Marc Jacobs from arriving at the Proenza Schouler show before the lights dimmed. He watched the finale through a window outside.

L-R: Gucci’s Cosmogonie show 2023, Madonna wearing Versace at the Met Gala 1997. Photos via Getty Images

“That week, I was wearing a dress by a new designer I was so excited about,” says Chloe King, the fashion market and editorial director at Neiman Marcus. “But as I was getting out of my car before a show, I heard a giant rip. The seam split right at my rear end, and I had to tie my blazer around my waist so I wouldn’t flash the street-style photographers. … Now I check to see if Mercury is retrograde during any of the big fashion weeks. Then I pack a backup dress in the car, just in case.”

Backstage at Altuzarra RTW Fall 2024 as part of New York Ready to Wear Fashion Week held at the Woolworth Building on February 11, 2024 in New York, New York. (Photo by Nina Westervelt/WWD via Getty Images)

King isn’t the only one using the stars to guide her style, especially during crucial fashion moments. Designers like Joseph Altuzarra, Daniel Roseberry at Schiaparelli, and Kim Jones at Fendi have been astronomically astrological in recent collections, embroidering constellations into their knitwear and eveningwear the way Morgan le Fay stitched spells into King Arthur’s scabbard before he hit the battlefield. “Fashion week is a kind of war, after all,” winked writer Katharine Zarrella after emerging from the Fforme show in New York, where designer Paul Helbers instructed his models to circle the audience in a kind of cashmere-swathed mandala. “And it’s such a precarious business. We need all the mystical protection we can get.”

L-R: Schiaparelli cape (1938), Nicole Kidman wearing Sarah Burton at the Met Gala 2016. Photos via Getty Images

Fashion’s reliance on magical energy goes back many moons. In 1938, Elsa Schiaparelli created her famous Zodiac Collection, inspired by star signs on the ceiling of Versailles. By the late 1940s, Christian Dior counted a mysterious Parisian astrologer named Madame Delahaye as part of his atelier, consulting her for all major business and personal decisions. (The current Apple TV+ series The New Look opens with a scene of Dior, played by Ben Mendelsohn, paralyzed with fear after peering at his tarot cards.) In 1946, Dior began his couture atelier after stepping on a metal star charm on the street outside his studio and taking it as a sign from the universe; star charms still famously dangle from Miss Lady Dior handbags today. As “The Age of Aquarius” blared on pop radio stations in the ’60s, actual Aquarian runes were scrawled across a Harper’s Bazaar “Cult of the Zodiac” photo shoot by Hiro Wakabayashi. Yves Saint Laurent’s printed horoscope dresses for his Rive Gauche line in 1976 and 1982 were so popular, they were eventually reincarnated in Saint Laurent’s 2018 collection. The year 1998 brought Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous zodiac knitwear collection, which transposed Art Nouveau astrology posters onto cardigans and slip dresses.

Paris, FRANCE: A model presents a creation by British designer John Galliano for Christian Dior during the Fall/Winter 2006-07 Haute Couture collections, 05 July 2006 in Paris. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2006, John Galliano’s couture show for Dior was entirely based on astrology signs and featured Heidi Klum hauling an embroidered Leo tapestry down the runway along with Jessica Stam in a crab-claw crown (really) with a coral bodice cinching her waist. “The evolution of astrological art moves parallel with our own progressive growth as humans,” writes Jessica Hundley in her book, The Library of Esoterica. “Each generation finds its own connection to the cosmos within art and imagination, expressing individual experience through astrology’s universal language.” And in fashion, that language becomes a commercial selling point, too.

L-R: Lingua Franca crewneck, Zimmermann dress Fall 2022. Photos via Getty Images

Take Lingua Franca’s spring zodiac embroidery crewnecks, starting at $520, which sold out in every colourway before designer Rachel Hruska was able to restock. (Though if you’re craving a moss green Pisces sweater, tough luck—that one’s gone for good.) Fendi’s silk astrology trousers, $1,100, disappeared so fast from Cettire that $69 dupes now crowd the fast-fashion racks. And unlike almost every other contemporary fashion collection, Zimmermann’s Celestial Zodiac collection of 2022 is actually more expensive via resale sites than it was in stores, with the starry lace dress that closed the show commanding over $3,500 on Poshmark and $2,000 via eBay. (It originally retailed for $1,400.)

“I will say that the Uranus in Taurus transit has inspired me to think more deeply about my style, my appearance.” —Chrissy Rutherford

But just adorning oneself with astrological symbols is not the same as protecting oneself from cosmic throes, says astrologer Ophira Edut of the AstroTwins, who forecasts regularly for “If there’s an astrological event like Mercury Retrograde, you want to think about what it means,” she told me when I asked if my fashion choices should be steered by the heavens. “That period is all about reflection, so it seems like a great opportunity to go back into your closet, pull out some archival looks or some great drop-waist tailoring that’s a homage to the past.”

Writer and influencer Chrissy Rutherford, who works regularly with the astrologer Rebecca Gordon, agreed that she wasn’t wearing Loewe’s famous fish-print denim or even fishnet stockings from CVS, just because Pisces season is happening during the February runways. “However, I will say that the Uranus in Taurus transit has inspired me to think more deeply about my style, my appearance, and how I’m presenting myself,” she admits. “Taurus is ruled by Venus, which is associated with beauty, romance, and luxury. … Also, Friday is the day of the week associated with Venus. I have an old Céline button-down shirt that has a rose on the chest, so I call it my Venus shirt, and it’s my favourite thing to wear on Fridays.”

Milky Way in the Sagittarius region with meteor streak. The trail of a meteor is seen against the Milky Way galaxy that contains our Solar System. It is part of the Sagittarius constellation. Artist NASA. (Photo by Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Designer Karen Erickson of the jewellery line Erickson Beamon doesn’t choose her clothes according to the stars, but she does curate her boardroom accordingly. “I opened my business when I was really young,” she explains. “I kept noticing that the same people in the same positions made the same mistakes. I started asking people their zodiac signs, and I realised different people did better work with different signs. For instance, a Cancer can’t collect money; they’re too emotional.” In the ‘90s, Erickson would make her answering machine message a weekly zodiac forecast. She stopped after 9/11, when her astrological advice included the phrase, “Time is running out; you need to decide if you’re an agent for good or you want to repeat the same mistakes and tragedies.”

“I started asking people their zodiac signs, and I’d realize different people did better work with different signs. For instance, a Cancer can’t collect money.” —Karen Erickson

“People freaked out, obviously,” says Erickson, “But look, the moon can control tides. If the moon runs the ocean, why wouldn’t it also run our bodies? We’re made of water, even if we’re not a water sign!” (Erickson is an Aquarius, which is, she is quick to remind me, “actually an air sign.”)

To align her body with celestial energies, Erickson says she uses metals, stones, and colour vibrations as part of the powerful dressing. “I believe inanimate objects hold a tremendous amount of power. The energy we put into the things around us affects everything. If you go to court, you’re supposed to wear navy blue. That’s what my Kabbalistic astrology teacher told me, and I won my case.”

Jennifer Meyer Evil Eye charm. Photo via Getty Images

California designer Jennifer Meyer, whose evil eye charms adorn the throats of stars like Jennifer Aniston and Meghan Markle, suggests harnessing the power of crystals, metals, and stones for energetic protection during tricky times. “Turquoise is very protective while travelling,” she says. “Lapis is great for revealing deeper inner truths, and diamonds are the ultimate for love and clarity.” Meyer also cites numerology as a way to tap into mystical currents. “I particularly love the number 13,” she says, “To show that anything you believe in can be lucky.”

“Lapis is great for revealing deeper inner truths, and diamonds are the ultimate for love and clarity.” —Jennifer Meyer

Taylor Swift would doubtless agree—as would Chrissie Miller. The Warby Parker creative director and co-founder of the beloved Naughty Aughties line Sophomore NYC is also the daughter of renowned astrologer Susan Miller. “Growing up, I’d watch my mom advise so many designers about when to do runway shows and release new collections based on their charts,” she says. “But when it’s your mom, you don’t always listen. You kind of rebel. I remember one fashion week, I was wearing these huge Prada heels, and my mom said, ‘Chrissy, be careful with your ankles, it’s not a good time for balance in your chart.’ Of course, I ignored her, and of course, I fell and twisted my ankle. … But I skipped a party to go out to dinner that night, because I wasn’t feeling great, and that’s how I ended up hanging out with my now-husband. So sometimes, when you think you’ve been cursed by the stars, it’s actually the opposite!”

Star cloud in Sagittarius constellation. Artist NASA. (Photo by Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

And then there are those who think astrology is a lot like a Jonathan Anderson stint at Louis Vuitton: Fun to discuss, but totally imaginary. “I’ve had a lot of great luck this year and I’ve never looked at a horoscope,” says Lauren Chan, the model who sold her womenswear company Hening and landed a Sports Illustrated swimsuit spread, all in the span of six months. “I get it,” she shrugged at the 3.1 Phillip Lim show during New York Fashion Week. “But as far as I’m concerned, Mercury is in Gatorade.”

This story originally appeared on GRAZIA International.