Desert chic: Inspired collections for right now

Whatever your Passover plans, they’re probably not as amazing as the Passover celebration on offer from Wilderness Torah, an organization that celebrates Judaism’s earth-centered traditions. The experience is so appropriate that it borders on genius: a four-day trip to California, where you build your own village and find freedom in the desert — just as our ancestors did in the Passover story.

While my family will put up with a great deal of California woo-woo, I can’t see them agreeing to roam the actual desert with me in our very own Exodus. But I can still look the part, because as luck would have it, desert chic has emerged as a bona fide trend, just in time for Passover.

1Desert sand is the new black

Along with “nautical” and “safari,” “the desert” has long been an inspiration for summer dressing; the trend rolls around pretty much every year without fail. This year, though, it’s actually a thing. You can get the look at Net-a-Porter, whose selection of desert tones includes upscale utilitarian cotton pieces in sand, palest pink, and soft khaki by the likes of Dries Van Noten and JW Anderson.

Elsewhere, H&M whisked a bunch of influencers off to Sedona, Arizona, to introduce its desert-inspired studio collection for Spring/Summer 2019, while Zara took inspiration from the desert of Morocco for its own studio line. If you’ve ever wanted to wander among sand dunes in a floaty cotton maxi dress or tile print co-ord set, dripping with the jewelry you just picked up from the souk, this could well be your moment. 

2Desert in the city

For a cooler, more urban take on the trend, check out Israeli-American designer Nili Lotan, who counts Gigi Hadid, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Julianne Moore as fans. For Spring 2019, she was inspired by the Israeli landscape, and her collection reflects “the minimalism and quiet confidence of the desert.” In practice, this means paisley-print harem pants, a silk bias cut gown the color of golden sand, and, best of all, a suede short sleeve safari jacket with matching bootcut pants.

3Bring the desert indoors

All Roads Tufted Desert Throw via Antropologie

Desert chic is not just for your wardrobe, of course; it’s a long-running trend in interiors too. Sleek and polished, the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic of Palm Springs — all brass accents, clean lines and masses of planters — is an eternal style inspiration. Meanwhile, more homespun Southwestern-style textiles and rosy earth tones have also been popping up in design-conscious homes around the country over the past few years, along with all those succulents that millennials love so much.

Hang a rug on your wall, invest in a cactus or two, and paint an accent wall in Cavern Clay — a warm terracotta that paint company Sherwin-Williams deemed the 2019 Color of the Year. An All Roads tufted throw from Anthropologie will lend any room some desert-inspired color and texture, and kids can get in on the act too. Reward them for finding the afikoman with a Palm Springs playhouse by Crate & Barrel.

Susannah Cohen
Susannah Cohen is a fashion journalist, e-commerce editor (specialist subjects: lingerie and diamonds) and Jewish mom. Recently relocated from London to the West Coast, she’s feeling a lot more spiritual these days.