When Food and Fashion Collide: a Retrospective

What, might you ask, do food and fashion have in common, exactly? Hadley Freeman, contributor to Style.com’s Style File blog, said it best in a 2008 article: “Food is colorful, it’s potentially expensive, and you can be a total snob about it—OF COURSE the fashionable are obsessed with it!”

Of course, there are limits. Apparently, these fashionistas didn’t get the memo:


Mad hatters at the Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day 2008 and 2009, where high-society types can afford to look ridiculous.
(credits clockwise from top left: via Telegraph.co.uk; via Dailymail.co.uk; via EatMeDaily.com; via Telegraph.co.uk; Adrian Dennis/AFP)


That ice cream cone dress gives me fripples just by looking at it.
Jeremy Scott’s Fall 2006 runway show, via KillingDenouement.wordpress.com


Here’s egg on your runway…Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s fall 09 collection was surreal, to say the least (Getty Images, via Zimbio.com)

Picture 13

A hilariously clever hamburger dress by Joy Kampia O’Shell

I hear your snickering. Go on, laugh out loud. Get it out of your system. Are you good? Ok. Now how about fashion made out of food? Get ready to be amazed (and in one instance, grossed out)


Technically you can’t wear this dress. But damn, ain’t it cool? Leave it to Jean-Paul Gaultier to pull off something truly beautiful with his 2004 “Pain Couture” exhibit at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in New York City.


Several cabbages were harmed in the making of this (admittedly beautiful) dress for a PETA ad.


So what would be the perfect foil to PETA’s cabbage dress? The infamous meat dress, created by Montreal artist Jana Sterbak. Naturally. The work, titled “Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic,” was made of 50 pounds of salted skirt steak and when it was displayed at the National Gallery in Ottawa in 1991, it set off a huge hullabaloo–not to mention onlookers’ gag reflexes . This image burned an indelible mark on my young brain when I first read about it while growing up in Toronto–I think I was 11 at the time. I guess you could say the steaks were high for this artist? What a surefire way to sear your art into the collective memory. That’s a rare moment I’ll never forget.

All right, all right, I’ll stop. (Just couldn’t help myself.) But I hope we’ve all learned our lesson here. Food and fashion do go together–albeit in weird and wonderful ways.

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