TagsCatherine Feliciano-Chon, F&B, food, Food Trends, forecast, Industry Trends, lifestyle, Marketing, retail
Tiffany’s recent launch of its branded cafe had me thinking, “Finally, it’s possible to have Breakfast (and lunch) at Tiffany’s!” It joins the growing ranks of fashion brands serving up food experiences — consider Armani cafes, Prada’s Marchesi and Dunhill’s Alfie, to name a few.
In fact, some form of dining has become increasingly de rigueur in retail, whether it’s a covert espresso machine on a counter or a fully fledged, swanky cafe anchoring a retail space. Restaurants in retail environments have become more than just refueling hubs for harried shoppers. They’re now a way to lure customers away from their computer screens and increase their “dwell time” in the brand’s physical space.
But what struck me recently was Dolce & Gabbana’s launch of a limited-edition tin of pastas from a venerable Neapolitan pasta maker. What’s that? High carbs in haute couture? Perish the thought!
Lest you think the designing duo were going gastro, this was simply a marketing stunt timed around the launch of their Spring 2018 collection where models (whom I bet my macaroons hardly eat pasta） were sent down the runway in outfits with campy food motifs.
The designing duo, known for their passionate love affair with southern Italy, were simply milking the provenance. And why not? This food fetish cascades down from high fashion into street wear and niche cult brands. Think Moschino’s tongue-in-cheek paean to McDonald’s, Bathing Ape refashioning Coca Cola or Vans dressing up The Meatball Shop. I suspect food will continue to be a rich source of inspiration.
Which makes me wonder about the irony. While fashion designers are purveyors of good taste (albeit in the sartorial sense), food and fashion are strange bedfellows. After all, the indulgence of one often means the abstinence of the other. (Think of Karl Lagerfeld’s remarkable weight loss to fit into in Hedi Slimane’s slim cut.)
The fashion industry has long been derided for its glamorization of underweight models, its subsistence on cigarettes and coffee and its obsession with size zero. Let’s face it, fashion folks fall into the “eat to live” camp unlike mortals like us who live to obsess over our next meal.
But perhaps the best way to explain fashion’s current fascination with food is to go back to its role as a mirror of our times. With people photographing their dishes ad nauseam, chefs lionized as celebrities, and restaurants topping bucket lists today, food quite literally is in fashion.
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