With the release of fashion model Daisy Lowe's “guilt free” cookbook looming, we debate the often over-looked similarities between the art forms we love to feast on (be it with our eyes or with our mouths).
Model turned chef is not a rarity as fashion’s darling Daisy follows in the footsteps of Sophie Dahl and actress turned self proclaimed lifestyle guru, Gwyneth Paltrow (who is now found most in her kitchen, consciously uncoupling egg whites from their yolks) in their bid to become vegan mutations of Nigella (ever so slightly less vivacious and carb absorbing). However, the allure of a twenty something model can be bettered by nothing, the promises of which are whispered to you as your fingers click to pre-order on Amazon. You can be a model too if you just buy my book.
Fashion and food are synonymous with the word ‘lifestyle’ as they are the make up of our day-to-day lives; art forms that everyone interacts with regularly (one would hope). Transparent salutations to this are presented in the form of “lemon chiffon cake”, the dessert mille-feuille of French origins or the mutton sleeve. All signifiers that style of fashion and food allude to the trends of life's great many pleasures.
Just as designers redesign and take inspiration from their predecessors. Fashion students are taught to look to the past in order to learn and further evolve the design of clothing, pushing the extremities of social ideals, taste and ergonomics. The same can be said of cuisine as gourmet chefs have teased our taste buds (even if only imagined). Unpalatable fodder, or a gilded creation from Heston? Many of us will never know; as we sit at the other side of the TV screen or read the latest cookbook, we may watch the culinary revolution unravel.
Fashion and food are both key indicators of luxury. Throughout history, competitive hostilities between those frenzied by any art form have occurred as they each try to outdo one another. The most delectable representation of this can be found in the Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola’s vision of 18th Century France seemed to include sweet delights and raspberry laced champagne as much as the candy coloured corsetry and mile high tresses (tall enough to inspire jealously in the matriarch of the Simpson family). Fancifully handed to us by Coppola with a little help from Siouxsie and the Banshees, the lifestyle was sold to us immediately. The mix of voguish aperitifs meant that a facile life of pleasure and luxury was at our fingertips whenever we pressed play.
Food in film can not only convey luxury but desire also. As an animal instinct one could argue that food is salient to our livelihoods more than clothing, however, it has grown into a necessity just as electronics, cars or gym memberships are most urgent on our list of previously nonessentials. The life of Riley.
The most prevalent example of food and desire is comically found within the cartooned strokes of Lady and the Tramp. An infamous scene for an animation, filled with ardour and ever so imitable. It is within reach; even the most incongruent of home cooks can conjure a spag bol with limited incineration. Meaning that although less elegantly executed, our own romantic foodie memories can be created (even if they leave us with threads of spaghetti tickling our chin).
It only takes a few evenings of watching Masterchef to notice the trends within cuisine, as easily supplemented to us as a quick flick through of Vogue. Square plates, scallops for starters and a trio of desserts, all heavenly concoctions, yet, so changeable with every season.
We may review both industries as pretty throw away, but imagine if at the end of creating your masterpiece someone had eaten it faster than you took to rustle it up. A new collection every few months, or a new meal every few minutes? It’s all a matter of taste.
Fashion and food can work well together: luncheons at which the crème de la crème of the industry dine together, cajoling with collaborators and scheming (I see it as more of a military operation than quant dinner party, everyone has their own agenda). Nevertheless, the two can also have a bittersweet relationship.
I have been told many times that women have a love affair with handbags and shoes because buying them isn’t dependent on whether or not they feel bloated – you don’t need to look into a mirror to gaze at the leather strapping your feet together, neatly framing your pedicure. Getting your nails done can occur pre or post Sunday roast; however, shopping for a date night outfit is an occasion ever so dependable on figure. Meaning that food can be our best friend or worst enemy. A light lunch with girlfriends or a midnight dash to the fridge that leaves us penitently prodding our tummies as the thought of being too fat to fit into our Calvins darkens our doors.
Previously mentioned model slash celebrity chef Sophie Dahl conveys the dysfunctional affairs we share with food while thoughts of what to wear tomorrow linger in our minds.
It seems that cooking for ourselves has become as quant as the image of 1950s housewives sewing from their mail order patterns in an effort to emulate the Hollywood elite. We have become proprietorial over our kitchens once more in a bid to become the image of perfection, with illusions of congeniality.
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