The 3 Types of Food-Inspired Fashion

You are what you eat. (This is especially true if you’re a flamingo and you’re pink because you eat shrimp.) But, sometimes, you also wear what you eat. (And we’re not talking about that mustard stain from lunch.) Two recent runway shows at Paris and Milan fashion weeks, and a bit of recent apparel history, reveal three ways in which haute couture reflects what you eat.

1. Apparel that is food, takes the form of food, or is directly inspired by food itself.

This the most literal form of food fashion: Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Cloris Leachman’s lettuce dress, this spaghetti dress with meatball necklace. (See more examples here.) A year before Gaga, Ted Sabarese photographed a series called “Hunger Pains,” which includes a bread dress and an artichoke dress and waffle pants, among others. Some are inspired by candy and some by pizza (I quite like the one on the left). A watercress sandwich hat even made an appearance at Ascot in 2009. See more here.

Then there’s Katy Perry’s wildly-colorful romp through Candy Land in “California Gurls,” which paints a very realistic portrait of everyday life in Los Angeles.

On the flip side, there’s food that takes the form of apparel, such as this Nike Air Max 9 burger sneaker. Word is the sneakers offer no double arch support.

2. Apparel associated with or inspired by food culture or food service or food branding, but not food specifically.

At Milan Fashion Week on February 20, over-the-top Italian couturier Moschino unveiled a line of clothes that looks hauntingly like fashion you might find at a McDonald’s. Business Week reports the new fall-winter collection includes “a baggy red sweater dress with a design that looks like the Golden Arches logo bent into an almost-heart (it’s M for Moschino) over the phrase, ‘Over 20 Billion Served.’ And as no sophisticate would dare sport a $935 faux McDonald’s dress without some snappy accessories, the line includes a matching $1,265 red, quilted purse and an $85 French fry iPhone cover.” The line includes other pieces, like a backpack, a sweater, and a Happy Meal handbag, but, alas, no McGruyère.

Who would wear McDonald’s inspired-fashion? Katy Perry, naturalmente.

Business Week reports Moschino also unveiled Budweiser- and Hershey-inspired fashions, with designer Jeremy Scott telling reporters it’s “about taking something trashy and making something that you’ll treasure forever.” Fast-food workers aren’t pleased.

3. Apparel that is neither food nor food-related but is situated among food.

The Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week in early March transformed the Grand Palais into a rather beautifully-appointed supermarket, complete with shopping baskets adorned with the chains of a Chanel handbag, Chanel-inspired food items, yellow signs offering 20 percent discounts, and an announcement that a child “is waiting for her parents at the cashiers.” (See more photos here, here, and here.)

Head designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld told reporters: “Why a supermarket? It is something of today’s life and even people who dress at Chanel go there — it’s a modern statement for expensive things.”

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