Cultural: News, Travel & Trendsetters

The T Predictor: What We’ll Be Obsessing Over in 2024

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We asked 46 artists, filmmakers, chefs and other creative people to forecast next year’s cultural trends. (Spoiler: We’re all going to be wearing a lot of brown.)

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A collage of various people, plants, clothes and other objects against a blue and purple background.
Credit…Carmen Winant

“Brown — the more ‘off,’ the better. It’s subtle and confrontational: Not a lot of colors have that versatility.” — Thebe Magugu, 30, fashion designer

“After a hugely colorful period, I think we’re going back to a place of minimalism in our clothes: black, a faded brown. Subtlety.” — Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, 37, actor

“Whiskey and cognac — a brown with a lot of caramel.” — Jenna Lyons, 55, designer

“There’s always a resistance to meatball brown, so I believe that is going to be the next color to sweep runways.” — John Waters, 77, film director

“Purple. It’s finally getting its due.” — Freddie Ross Jr., a.k.a. Big Freedia, 45, musician

“Deep violet.” — Sharon Van Etten, 42, singer-songwriter

“Colors that reflect opulence. Like bluish purple. It’ll be the year of treating yourself.” — Kwame Onwuachi, 34, chef

“Neutrals will step up their game and pack some actual punch. I won’t be surprised if a diarrhea tone becomes Pantone’s color of the year. On the flip side, bright colors are still seeking vengeance for the millennial tyranny of pastel; we’ll finally get treated to a color like Tyrian purple.” — Misha Kahn, 34, designer and sculptor

“Pops of red. Navy, too.” — Alex Eagle, 40, creative director

“More blue — the color of the oceans and the skies that arc over every human being on this planet.” — Carole Iida-Nakayama, 46, chef

“Aside from quiet black, I’ll still be promoting gentle grays to show respect and modest deference to others and the conditions they might be going through.” — Rick Owens, 62, fashion designer

“Chroma key green — an ‘invisible’ color that’s ever-changing.” — Alex Da Corte, 43, visual artist

“The color of butter. I’m not sure who it looks good on, but I love gazing on it.” — Eileen Myles, 73, poet

“The hyper trend will probably continue: neon greens, safety orange, maximum reds. Though everyone will still look like they’re going camping. Picture lumberjacks at a rave.” — Jeff Tweedy, 56, musician and songwriter

“Teal green. But it’s anyone’s guess. Trends are predictable, yet hard to predict. I am, however, 100 percent certain we’ll have had enough of bubble gum pink before year’s end.” — John Cale, 81, musician and composer

“He’ll be old news to people who know me, but the Japanese philosophical farmer Masanobu Fukuoka — cultivation where you don’t interfere too much.” — Rirkrit Tiravanija, 62, interdisciplinary artist

“Charlotte Rampling. A lot of young people don’t know who she is.” — Jenna Lyons

“Art Nouveau; that’s when Japan came to Europe. I also think there are going to be a lot of patterns next year, like Liberty prints.” — Satoshi Kuwata, 40, fashion designer

“Victorian devotion, discipline, austerity and occasional pageantry reflect the direction people want to go in today.” — Thebe Magugu

“People [will] need to step out of the closed box that has continued to burden the environment and return to nature, toward the age of hunting and gathering.” — Kengo Kuma, 69, architect

“Marisol Escobar’s wooden symbolist portraiture and Joe Brainard’s diaristic and handmade artworks. I’ve also been thinking of [the conceptual artist] Felix Gonzalez-Torres and the poetry he could impart to objects, in honor of the people he loved and lost. In Victorian times, flowers would bear silent messages; I hope we might find poetic ways to speak using new codes.” — Alex Da Corte

“The timing is right for all things Dada — the discovery of humor where there is none to be realized.” — John Cale

“That little pineapple plant should be in everyone’s apartment, like how in the ’80s everyone had silk flowers. She has a really pretty flower when she sprouts, but she’s also kind of funky.” — Raul Lopez, 39, fashion designer

“The bearded iris — such weird and wonderful variations.” — Rick Owens

“People will always buy plants merely because they like how they look but, increasingly, gardeners are choosing plants that serve more than the human eye, that are better for insect life. Like Eupatorium maculatum [spotted joe-pye weed], Asclepias tuberosa [butterfly weed] and species of echinacea [coneflower], aster and eryngium [sea holly]. Plants are a big part of how we can heal ourselves.” — Piet Oudolf, 79, garden designer

“Some sort of small tree. People will realize that flowers aren’t sustainable.” — Satoshi Kuwata

“Back to the ’80s again. Except this time, no pop, little color, hard angles, firm materials, power shoulders — basically, body armor [in the style of] Grace Jones or Robert Longo’s ‘Men in the Cities’ series [1979-83].” — Franklin Sirmans, 54, writer and museum director

“Donna Karan’s ’80s look. Power suits.” — Alex Eagle

“Indie sleaze. At the Fringe at the Edinburgh Film Festival recently, it was just kids spilling beer and smoking and being messy. The nail polish was a bit broken.” — Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

“The ’90s (though in my mind they’ve never gone away). Cargo pants and low-rise pants that [pool on] the floor. JNCO jeans, too.” — Sharon Van Etten

“Because our situation in this world has gotten more urgent, I think the wholesome, natural, beige, quiet, wabi-sabi/Belgian look will disappear. In its place: the spirit of certain ’80s and ’90s British creatives — the fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, the stylist Judy Blame, the editor Min Hogg. They weren’t afraid to blend politics with art. A sort of punk sensibility will prevail. Not a literal return of the punk aesthetic — more the attitude.” — Faye Toogood, 46, designer

“I hope Y2K burns in hell: I’m so done with this copy-and-paste [aesthetic], the micro-mini with the little lettuce hem, the little blouse. It’s going to be more about taking classic silhouettes and giving them a twist: 1950s, really tailored, sharp. With pocket watches. Also: long tees. The cropped, Kanye-esque disheveled short tee is gonna fade out.” — Raul Lopez

“Design will be more open to conversations with scientists; we already have bioplastics made of seaweed and bacteria. And salt will be a material of the future.” — Patricia Urquiola, 62, architect and designer

“A lot of happy graphics. When I’m depressed, color becomes very important. When I’m happy, I love black.” — Carla Sozzani, 76, gallerist and retailer

“For something to seem new again, it has to be freshly hated, like the mullet. Remember the short-lived pirate look that came after punk? Maybe that. Or maybe big shoulder pads or men’s sport coats where you push up the sleeves; that kind of ‘Miami Vice’ look that no one would be caught dead in now.” — John Waters

“Polka dots.” — Alex Eagle

“Alternative leathers. I’ve used shrimp leather in my collection. I never would’ve thought fur would go away, and yet here we are.” — Peter Do, 32, fashion designer

“When I was growing up, it was all about the new [Air] Jordans. But my four kids just cannot wait to get into a secondhand clothes bin.” — David Oyelowo, 47, actor

“We’ll move further and further away from the sleek, minimal aesthetic and toward things that feel as though they’ve been touched by another human being: quilts, lace and tapestries.” — Laila Gohar, 35, chef and artist

“That kind of rec room geometric pattern; there’s such a nostalgia for the late ’70s/early ’80s in design.” — Jenna Lyons

“Rather than a light that weighs a ridiculous number of pounds and takes an enormous amount of energy to make, we’ll see more surfaces that reflect and refract to maximize the output of a single light source that you maybe don’t even see. Lights will also be dimmer as a way of cultivating mystery and stillness. When you do see materials, they’ll be ancient, like bronze, stone and clay — things that [evoke] the feeling of gathering around a flame.” — Lindsey Adelman, 55, lighting designer

“More wood, more carving, more plaster, more casting — evidence of more touch and material engagement.” — Alex Da Corte

“Gay ladies. There’s a lot of intrigue right now, and there’s very little [out there].” — Jenna Lyons

“Throuples haven’t been explored that much. I’d love to see Tom Ford direct a movie about the relationship between Monroe Wheeler, Glenway Wescott and George Platt Lynes, the creative forces from the 1930s.” — Rick Owens

“Dramatizations of actual events will become even more prevalent; [they’re] more grotesque and unbelievable than anything we can think up. I expect an OceanGate play on Broadway next spring.” — Thebe Magugu

“In the wake of Covid-19, we’re going to see even more of the biggest concerts ever.” — David Oyelowo

“During the pandemic, playwrights did very little playwriting. Then many of us returned to it, in part because our screenwriting work was on hold. So I’m very excited to see what new plays come out of this period.” — Samuel D. Hunter, 42, playwright

“The art world will continue to become more open to the dispossessed and underrepresented. The cat’s out of the bag.” — Jamie Nares, 70, multidisciplinary artist

“Rage will become more straightforward in art.” — Christine Sun Kim, 43, multidisciplinary artist

“In music, people will crave things that are more challenging, that maybe require more of an attention span: noise, distortion, something more experimental.” — Michael Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, 42, singer-songwriter

“The past year has felt like A.I. fever. It exposed how many so-called creative works are just unnuanced examples of juxtaposition. [We’ll see] a more exciting jumble of media. Expect a lot of hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it nuance and a more complex use of references.” — Misha Kahn

“I feel like nihilism will return, unfortunately — and with it, a certain kind of humor. Acoustic electronic jazz will have its moment. It’s the kind of music that shuts the brain off: mindfulness music. And vaporwave is going to return. I can just tell.” — Jacolby Satterwhite, 37, visual artist

“More communal art. Like a piece of art on the wall or in a plaza made by a lot of different people coming together. We realized during the pandemic how much we missed connection. Then we tried to throw our souls back into these dark theaters and museums, but that’s not working.” — Larissa FastHorse, 52, playwright and choreographer

“An escalating resistance to structures that impose loneliness.” — Es Devlin, 52, artist and stage designer

“We might have multiverse fatigue. There’ve been some good stories about infinite possibilities, but [we’re] craving stories defined by constraints. I also wonder if we’ll see weirder stories. Not to say A.I. can’t generate weirdness with its hallucinations. But intentional weirdness is one area where humans might be able to keep our edge.” — Charles Yu, 47, writer

“Design, art and architecture will all be much less abstract. Abstraction has served an important role in history — [Wassily] Kandinsky discovered it when he left a painting in his studio and, upon returning, didn’t recognize it because it was upside down — but we’re now in a moment where clear communication is the most important thing, and we need recognizable figures and shapes.” — Gaetano Pesce, 84, architect and designer

“We’ll turn toward abstraction. I predict that Donald Trump is going to win the election and, when people seek some sort of relief valve or means to move forward, I don’t think they’re going to do that by looking at a bunch of figurative paintings. We’ll need to stare into the blur and ask the biggest possible questions: ‘Who are we? What are we? What the hell are we doing?’ And those are questions that abstraction, as a mode, posits … I also think we’ll encounter a radical new abstraction. Take Wade Guyton’s [recent] show at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York or Julie Mehretu’s at White Cube in London. These weren’t just shows of paintings on the wall: They moved into the space. [Going forward], the painting itself will surround you.” — Adam Pendleton, 39, painter

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Credit…Carmen Winant

“[That people] stop using black and white! People working in fashion seem to all dress in black. I like to use colors because they’re a vehicle to a happy life.” — Gaetano Pesce

“Sketch comedy should come back. There’s so much that’s spoofable these days.” — Amaarae, 29, singer-songwriter

“That people realize they’ve seen things in life, and those things are important. Nowadays, we don’t remember much because we have machines that remember for us. I’m working on an A.R. [augmented reality] ghost that’ll deliver a monologue written by [the French artist] Philippe Parreno. The ghost remembers the smell of freshly cut grass and the fireflies that came out at night.” — Rirkrit Tiravanija

“A revival of independent cinema: films from new voices who missed their opportunity due to the strike.” — Maya Erskine, 36, actor and writer

“Everything’s been about wellnessy stuff. Now, it’ll be drinking probiotics and vaping. Having a cupcake and a ginger shot.” — Perfume Genius

“A revival of the good old future — a belief that progress will take us to a better place. And not just a world of hologram hamburgers. How nice would it be if we could reverse the trend of culture feeling like it’s prepping everybody to expect the worst possible future as an inevitability? Living is hard enough already. Maybe we shouldn’t be going out of our way to ‘Mad Max’ our minds.” — Jeff Tweedy

“In Japanese, gaman means to restrain, to hold back, to deny oneself. Doing it too much can drive a person crazy. That said, I’d like to see us all work harder to find compromise, to live in a world where there’s less anger and polarization.” — Niki Nakayama, 49, chef

“Cancel culture and online judgment have reached such a peak, I’m looking forward to their correction, which is inevitable. I hope.” — Rick Owens

“The chest, which I’ve always associated most with the soul. It symbolizes pride — for men and women.” — Thebe Magugu

“With everything being so oversize, it’s appendage cleavage: ankles and forearms.” — Jenna Lyons

“Legs, with the rise of miniskirts and hot pants. And shoulders: Asymmetrical silhouettes will return.” — Alex Eagle

“Legs and thighs: Pants are getting slimmer.” — Peter Do

“I recently started fetishizing the waist for men and women, and I’m not sure why — it’s such a conservative thing to do. But it might be a reaction to the general chaos I see in the world and a comforting way of signaling control.” — Rick Owens

“Artificial intelligence is going to confuse people so much that they’re going to give up on canceling each other because no one will know what the truth is. Everyone’s going to be doxxed for some fake stuff.” — Jacolby Satterwhite

“The election, inevitably. Is criminality going to be an effective political tool?” — David Oyelowo

“Large language model chatbots will start to have a noticeable impact in many workplaces, more quickly than people expect.” — Josh Kline, 44, multidisciplinary artist

“Conversations between and about the African and Asian diasporas. I’m really invested in having conversations across race that don’t include white people. There are many points of intersection and alignment: K-pop and amapiano, Viet Cajun identity, Chinese investment in Africa.” — Jackie Sibblies Drury, 41, playwright

“The legal status of ice.” — John Cale

“The technology of aging.” — Sharon Van Etten

“[There’ll be more] talk about rejecting ‘trauma-based’ stories. But who are we without our traumas?” — Samuel D. Hunter

“War.” — Rick Owens

“Saffron, just starting with the labor-intensive way in which it’s [harvested], which gives it an air of bespoke luxury.” — Thebe Magugu

“Other greens. I was at a farmers’ market looking at callaloo. A white lady grabbed some and I couldn’t help myself: ‘You know how to cook callaloo?’ She didn’t know it by that name but recognized the leaves and buds from a childhood in Greece. From that I learned that the amaranth family is vast. Kale and spinach and collards are great but, when they’re mixed with other green leaves, something spectacular happens. I envision a proliferation: goma ae and gomen wat, mchicha and yin choi.” — Jackie Sibblies Drury

“Oats. It’s going to roar into lunch and dinner, paired with sweets and savory. It’s coming for the polenta spot.” — John Cale

“Disturbing-looking colored meats — taking these really expensive ingredients and making them really trashy, like doing a stew with this chicken that’s so precious, but doing it Dominican style.” — Raul Lopez

“Garlic scapes.” — Jenna Lyons

“[We’ll see] a big comeback of vermouth made with natural wine and no added sugar.” — Greg Marchand, 45, chef

“The hyperlocal, as [practiced by] people like Sean Sherman, the Sioux chef. It’s a sensibility that goes beyond farm-to-table. It moves us from ‘What do we want to be here?’ to ‘What was supposed to be here?’” — Larissa FastHorse

“I’ve had a lot of Ethiopian food in L.A. and Eritrean food in New York — is that going to become more of a thing? I’m hoping we see Ghanaian, Nigerian and Eritrean stuff elevated in a way that Black chefs get more Michelin stars.” — Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

“Fewer ingredients. And no fusion. I don’t love when restaurants say they’re Japanese meets Mexican or whatever combination. Just give me one that’s really good. No fish corn dogs, just corn dogs. No truffle kimchi fried rice. (Though to be fair, I haven’t tried either of these combinations.)” — Maya Erskine

“Bugs.” — Peter Do

“The continuation of fusion. There’s a new place [Dakar NOLA] here in New Orleans that’s Senegalese with Louisiana flair, like habanero [chiles] and dehydrated seafood powder with okra and red beans. Can’t wait to try that.” — Big Freedia

“Arctic char. Along with canned sardines, candied fruit, meringue, cucumber sandwiches, mortadella, sea urchin, cornichons and cream puffs. Parties might feature champagne towers and totems of crudités, and I can see home cooks showing off their soufflé-making skills. Other desserts du jour: giant cakes and tarts, peach Melba, poached pears and baked alaska. Also: single-ingredient dinner parties.” — Laila Gohar

“This explosion of Afrobeats music is going to bleed into cuisine. There’s a vibe to the food, certainly out of West Africa and Nigeria, that has a similar kind of pep to the music.” — David Oyelowo

“More cultivated meat. And more beautiful seafood from a can. I love to see this new generation on TikTok enjoying this magical vessel with its briny goodness.” — José Andrés, 54, chef

“White soy, gooseberry, mangosteen, vinegar powder and sugar on meat. People will want things that are familiar but feel exclusive.” — Kwame Onwuachi

“A revival of farm-to-table restaurants.” — René Redzepi, 45, chef

“Nothing will be the new ingredient. People will gather in places not to eat. Collective fasting will increasingly be a pastime. Food is great, but we’ve abandoned our sexiness, our ferocity, our embodiment, for the sole pleasure of filling our mouths. We’ll gather instead to talk. Or to be awesomely silent together.” — Eileen Myles

1. A giant floating sofa will be placed upright in the Taiwan Strait, and later moved to cruise the international date line.

2. Three anonymous Supreme Court justices will ask Carsten Höller and Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design their (privately funded) water park outside Cincinnati.

3. Gavin Newsom will be the Republican presidential candidate; Michael Govan will run for California governor.

4. Yogurt will be elected to Congress.

5. The Louvre will announce a Cape Horn location for 2028.

6. A new film franchise will launch featuring all best actress and actor winners of the past four years reprising their Oscar-winning characters.

7. James Harden will swap beards with Ted Cruz.

8. [In Manhattan] 14th and 34th Streets will swap places from river to river.

9. New York City will ban all sounds and smells every day (except Sundays and holidays) from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m.

10. David Hammons will make his West Side pier [in Manhattan] disappear in broad daylight.

Darren Bader, 45, conceptual artist

These interviews, which were conducted in August and September 2023, have been edited and condensed.


Collages, from top: D.J. DBN Gogo: courtesy of DBN Gogo and Minenhle Nene (2); A.I. artwork: Adaeze Okaro, “Planet Hibiscus #32,” courtesy of Feral File; Green torso: Plastic Body, Issey Miyake A/W 1980 © Miyake Design Studio/Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2); Hat rack: Marcel Duchamp, “Hat Rack,” 1917/1964 © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2023, Art Resource, N.Y.; Shovel: Marcel Duchamp, “In Advance of the Broken Arm,” 1964 © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2023, Art Resource, N.Y.; Tall cake: Yip Studio; Wood head: Raoul Hausmann, “Tête Mécanique — L’esprit de Notre Temps” (“Mechanical Head — the Spirit of Our Time”), circa 1921 © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris, Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.; Akg-images (3); Alamy (9); AP; Bridgeman (3); Everett Collection (2); Getty (17); iStock; The New York Times (2); Launchmetrics (7); Redux (2); Shutterstock (9); Superstock (3)

Leather jacket: Punk Jacket, circa 1978-83, Art Resource, N.Y.; Bottle rack: Marcel Duchamp, “Bottle Rack” (“Porte-Bouteilles”), 1958-59 © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2023, Art Resource, N.Y.; Marcel Duchamp, “Fountain,” 1950 (replica of 1917 original), porcelain urinal © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2023, Art Resource, N.Y.; D.J. DBN Gogo: courtesy of DBN Gogo and Minenhle Nene; D.J. Uncle Waffles: 4shots.iv; Fashion portrait: Adaeze Okaro, “Angels Like You”; Horse: Marisol, “The Generals,” 1961-62, Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum © 2023 estate of Marisol/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo: Brenda Bieger, Buffalo AKG Art Museum; Nudes painting: Gustave Courbet, “Le Sommeil,” 1866, oil painting, Art Resource, N.Y. (2); Red Hologram: Louise Bourgeois, “Untitled, No. 8 of 8,” from the Hologram Series, 1998-2014 © 2023 the Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y., licensed by Scala/Art Resource, N.Y.; Women kissing: John Gutmann, “Two Women in Love,” 1937, gelatin silver print © the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Resource, N.Y.; Akg-images; Alamy (8); AP; Bridgeman; Everett Collection (6); Getty (10); Launchmetrics (5); Photofest; Redux; Shutterstock (4); Sipa; Superstock (2); The New York Times; NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

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