Is The Fashion World Ready To Embrace—Gasp—Food?-------
Style.com contributing editor and party reporter Darrell Hartman circles the city and, occasionally, the globe in the line of duty. In a new column, he reports on the topics—whatever they may be at whatever given moment—that are stirring the social set.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” Kate Moss famously said. Lord knows a good deal of the fashion world agrees with her. But fashion also responds to what’s going on in culture—and with all the foodie-ism out there these days, shouldn’t the Champagne-and-cigarettes diet seem a bit passé?
Bon Appetit thinks so. Since GQ alum Adam Rapoport took over as editor about a year and a half ago, the mag has adopted a new focus on food as an indispensable part of the stylish life, peeking into the dining rooms of fashion personalities such as the Missoni family and A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou to help its case. So when Rapoport & Co. threw a dinner a few weeks ago with help from recent profile subjects the Marden sisters and the in-demand interior designer John Derian, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do examine the topic.
Hugo Guinness’s anecdotal evidence suggested that fashion’s higher-ups are more or less deaf to all that enthusiastic noise coming out of the foodie world. “Daphne couldn’t care less about food,” he reported, referring to his sister. And it was with little relish (so to speak) that he described the cuisine that one noted fashion hostess serves up at her dinner parties: “Always steak or fish, and horribly cooked.” But there’s a new guard, too, and in New York few people embody it as well as Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte. They made a name for themselves as nightlife guys with a talent for marshaling the city’s cool kids, but in recent years they’ve gotten that same crowd to stop by for lunch at The Smile’s two downtown outposts with a menu that’s “healthy and comfort-y,” as Quirarte described it during cocktails at Bon App‘s dinner. This summer, they’re enlisting young restaurateur (and ex-boyfriend of Harley Viera-Newton) James Cruickshank to grill up late-night burgers at Westway. “I do think food is a bigger part of popular downtown culture,” offered Melia Marden (pictured), who’s head chef at The Smile and had put together the Mediterranean-flavored menu. “It’s very ingrained with what’s fashionable now—it’s not so separate.” Jean-Marc Houmard, who’s managed to lure Indochine vets over to his trendy new place, Acme, would probably second that.
A week later, as we were both heading up to a dinner in Istanbul, Cecilia Dean suggested to me that fashion absorbs trends in its own way and that when it comes to food, the relevant idea at the moment is the rather general one of eco-friendliness. “Food doesn’t need to be cool in the eyes of fashion people,” she said. In other words, no trendy chefs, pig parts, and cooking techniques: the fashion world’s plate is full enough.