x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Katie Trotter: the fashion world loves food fads, but only with its eyes

The fashion world falls big for food – but is it a real romance, and can it last?

It's Anna Wintour's favourite dish. The Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa likes his with lobster filling. The Barney's photographer Stephanie Elgort likes hers with celery root, and the supermodel Coco Rocha takes hers the old-fashioned way.

That's according to The New York Times, which recently pronounced pot pie the hippest food in the fashion industry. While admittedly the vision of the fashionable elite scoffing down bowls of sloppy, fattening, home-style fodder gives me a momentary smile, something tells me there is a whiff of irony in the kitchen.

Food - gentle on the eye, potentially expensive and often provoking delusions of grandeur and social elitism - of course consumes the fashionable. It's fashionable to be a foodie, as it's simply another line of self-expression. Where and what we eat is as much a reflection of our values and identity as what is on our feet.

We could blame Carrie Bradshaw and pals for the dreadful cupcake pandemic, but it wouldn't be entirely fair. This year alone Condé Nast announced the opening of its restaurant division, in 2012; Kiev will host the first Vogue cafe; and Istanbul will play host to the first GQ Bar. On the runway there were apples on Moschino's dress and onions on Dolce&Gabbana and collaborations between the likes of Ladurée, the French macaron expert, and Christian Louboutin. Not to mention the rumours circulating about a Marc Jacobs restaurant opening.

But all this fuss has nothing whatsoever to do with satisfying hunger and everything to do with appearance. Fashionable food has to look good before somebody noteworthy notes its worth. Call it finger food; hors d'oeuvres or canapés, its sole purpose is to be small -minute, in fact - because anything more and the whole eating-in-public thing becomes a bit of a messy problem. Besides, eating a normal-sized portion may suggest to the rest of the fashionable folk that we in fact are also fairly normal. And who wants that?

Nobody actually craves snail caviar, duck egg or raw fish, but tell us it involves plunging a cube of twice-frozen ice into smoking liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus-180 degrees and we are sold. Flaked Dorset crab and finger lime, triple-cooked chips, savoury meringues or crème brûlée of foie gras with tonka beans - as is the case with fashion, you're either in or out.

So is the fashion crowd finally giving in to the simple sensory pleasures that food brings? Probably not. "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," Kate Moss once said. See, fashion loves food. It just doesn't want to eat it.

 

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