Fashion people may not be known for eating the most, but you can bet that they eat the most fashionably.
In any case, the idea that fashion and food are unlikely partners is, well, so last season. With much excitement over the news that Louis Vuitton is opening its first restaurant next month, it now seems like couture and cuisine make such an obvious pairing.
With much excitement over the news that a famous Prada bakery in Milan — the — is opening another branch in London next month, it now seems like couture and cuisine make such an obvious pairing.
[Hero image credit: Tiffany; Feature image credit: Marchesi 1824]
Last year, Prada’s famous Pasticceria Marchesi opened a new branch in London, serving up the same favourites and signature items of the original in Milan, such as the legendary panettone and gianduja chocolates. Miuccia Prada’s familiar prints and love for green were translated on to the interiors of the exquisitely set-up cafe.
As a generation obsessed with seeking out the most Instagram-worthy dishes (there are about 50 million posts under #foodstagram, and counting), we really are eating with our eyes. It’s unsurprising, then, that such a visual industry as Fashion should carve itself a literal slice of the pie. Prada is far from the only fashion house to have an edible aspect to their brand. It’s not only the Louis Vuitton fries that Kylie Jenner arranged for “Stormi World” — the extravagant party for her daughter’s first birthday; nor, even, is it just about Fendi’s food pop-up, selling £4 Double F-ed popsicles in Selfridges. No — we must think bigger.
Increasingly, fashion brands are going all the way to bring the runway to the kitchen, opening entire cafes such as Thomas’s (Burberry’s established in-store fine dining spot) or Beige (the Tokyo-based collaboration between Chanel and Alain Ducasse). With their deliciously fashionable treats, these brands are showing that the art of food-fashion mashups means so much more than just printing a logo on a lolly.
Luxury fashion has always been far more than just about clothes. Now brands are literally catering to experience-seeking millennials by increasingly selling lifestyle concepts rather than just material things. In Ralph’s, Ralph Lauren’s café and bar located just next to the flagship store on London’s Regent Street, you’ll find the clothing label’s familiar attachment to English heritage and equestrian aesthetic. With a brass-topped bar saddle-leather banquettes, and equestrian-themed art hung against dark wood panels, it’s quite immediately a “Ralph Lauren” type of place to have a cup of tea (or an Old Fashioned).
Meanwhile in New York, you can now really have breakfast at Tiffany’s ever since the flagship store opened their Blue Box Café in 2017. After years of watching Holly Golightly shivering while eating a croissant outside the store, fans can finally be part of the brand’s iconic vignette — all while staying warm.
There seems no need for hesitation when it comes to the quality of dining in these fashion eateries. Fashion houses use these cafes as part of their branding; another platform to show off their exquisite presentation, artistic design, fine ingredients, elite craftsmanship, and highest attention to detail. Customers are still promised all of the brand’s trademark standards and character, but in the form of an experience rather than a pair of shoes.
Food also brings a really important social dimension to fashion. With more people buying their clothes and shoes online, fashion houses need to find another outlet to meet, greet, and serve their customers. Retail spaces are changing, and these fashion-branded cafes are delicious proof of it.
Bringing two seemingly unmixable things together always results in something intriguing and excitingly new. From Vetements teaming up with DHL, to Dolce & Gabbana with Smeg refrigerators, cross-market collaborations have become definitive of modern culture. The trending fusion of fashion and food seems not only inevitable, but potentially a whole new industry in itself.
Finding Fashionable Food in Bangkok:
We’re no strangers to the concept of fashion-dining here in Bangkok. Greyhound’s beloved Another Hound Café has been a firm favourite for years amongst metropolitan fashionistas and non-fashionistas alike. The contemporary label’s artsy, tongue-in-cheek, and laid-back aesthetic works for both their clothes and menus. It’s no surprise that there’s a branch in nearly every department store. We’re also fans of Thonglor’s surprisingly quiet but very stylish eatery, Met Café. A clothing boutique and restaurant fusion, this is a haunt for many of Bangkok’s designers, editors, and key fashion insiders. Their trendy menu is also a fusion of Thai, European, and African food. How very cosmo.
Elsewhere among the buzz of Bangkok’s fashion and dining scene are two more must-visit hidden gems. The first is SODA’s Love Bar, located inside their clothing store in Emquartier. Serving excellent cakes and glorious cocktails in a setting as eclectic and colourful as their clothes, this is a fabulous meeting point for every sweet-toothed fashionista.
Finally, the curiously named It’s “Happened to Be” a Closet is a bohemian-style dining experience that is even more curious inside. Once a travelling gypsy fashion brand that toured from Siam Square to Khao San Road for 15 years, they’ve now settled down and are dishing out some of the best Western comfort food in the city. You’ll be having fabulous baked goods and pasta dishes in an extravagantly decorated space that looks a bit like a theatre’s costume room. With their clothing boutique on the floor above, the restaurant also continue the brand’s vintage-trinket fashion with sessions for jewellery making and DIY fashion workshops. All available with a glass of wine.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok on 12 March 2019.