If Fashion be the Food of Love

It’s not unusual for designers to get inspiration from food and other unexpected sources. British designer Mary Quant’s miniskirts were named after her favorite car the Mini – Mary Quant and Parisian courtier André Courrèges have both been accredited with the miniskirt’s invention. Gianni Versace’s major influence was Greek mythology and the Versace logo is the head of Medusa which is thought to symbolize the empowerment of women. As for food influences, the designer Franc Fernandez, the man behind Lady Gaga’s controversial Meat Dress (made from 40 pounds of flank steak ) from the 2010 MTV VMAs, used food as an inspiration for his craft.

Lady Gaga and the Meat Dress, at the 2010 MTV VMAs.
1921 Gucci Cafe
1921 Gucci Cafe, the world’s first Gucci restaurant in Shanghai.

Now it seems that well-known fashion houses are getting into fine dining and hoping to bridge the gap between food and fashion, boost their branding and diversify their revenue. Luxury fashion houses like Burberry, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci have already opened cafés, restaurants and food outlets providing a fashionable dining experience for clothes and food aficionados alike. Burberry launched their first cafe in 2016 – named Thomas’s, after the brand’s founder Thomas Burberry. It is located at their London flagship store at 121 Regent Street. The Gucci Garden due to open on January 10, 2018 inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia is a collaboration between Chef Massimo Bottura and Gucci. The 1921 Gucci (named after the year of the label’s foundation) in Shanghai which opened in 2015, is a full-service branded restaurant which can be reached by an elevator in the Gucci store, serves Italian food in a stylish setting.

Ralph Lauren Polo Bar
Ralph Lauren’s The Polo Bar, Midtown New York.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Gold Restaurant in Milan.

Then there is Ralph Lauren’s Polo bar in midtown New York which normally draws celebrities to it’s subterranean space like moths drawn to a light. Dolce & Gabbana proves that all that glitters is gold with their fashionable Milanese restaurant named Gold, where the surfaces are embellished with glitter and sparkle. There is a formal upstairs restaurant that is only open for dinner and a downstairs bar and a bistro area which is open all day. Armani have restaurants, bars and cafés throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, offering the perfect combination of fashion and food, such as the Armani Nobu in Milan.

The transition from haute couture to haute cuisine is not without its risks and the restaurants of luxury fashion houses and the food that they serve should only be as good as their products, otherwise they risk diminishing their brand image and reputation. Now if only they could figure out what makes a place the place where everyone wants to go.

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