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Food and dernier cri

Food And Fashion Are More Compatible Than You Think

October 21, 2008

Most people, quite understandably, think fashion folk have little interest in food (beyond avoiding it, that is). Please! Food is colorful, it’s potentially expensive, and you can be a total snob about it—OF COURSE the fashionable are obsessed with it. Treating it in the only way they know how, they make it not about nutrition or health, but trends. Just as some styles are suddenly in and some are suddenly verboten, so you find with food. In order to find out what the current sitch is, forget about looking to Martha Stewart; instead, turn to the fashion PRs, these now being the only people on the planet who seem to be able to afford to give out whatever overpriced morsels are the dernier cri.

For a while, neon-hued Ladurée macaroons were the seemingly unstoppable fashion party fuel, as essential and as ubiquitous as Spanx. But they were supplanted by a new hors d’oeuvre: miniature fast food in the form of dollhouse-sized portions of fish and chips, cheeseburgers so small even Mary-Kate Olsen would have complained, fingernail-sized slivers of pizza, etc. It’s, like, ironic, you see, and also a clever way to allow guests to get a mini carb fix without developing a bloat that would play havoc with their Balenciaga LBD. But really, these were just the briefest of flickers, because there is one food trend that is truly all-dominating and all-encompassing in the fashion world and anyone who has been invited out to lunch by a fashion PR or journalist knows what it is: Japanese food.

I cannot overstate this: The fashion industry is completely obsessed with eating Japanese. I literally cannot remember the last lunch invitation I received from a PR that did not involve the verbal lure, “They do really great sashimi there.” Seeing as I do not eat fish, this has given me the perfect excuse to never go out for lunch with any PR, ever. Nobu is partly to blame for this Japanese hysteria, as it has given sushi a pleasing sheen of Hollywood cool. But I think we all know the real reason for fashion’s love of this particular cuisine, which is that it provides a legitimate cover for an attitude towards one’s waistline that is best described as neurotic. Miso soup for breakfast, a tub of salty beans for lunch, and a slice of raw fish for dinner— now that’s what I call a hearty day’s eating. If you’re a half-starved 15-year-old model, perhaps. Personally, I struggle with the thought of starting my day with, say, salty broth instead of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Frankly, it’s enough to make you look back at the macaroons as the good ol’ days.