A Ralph Lauren Cafe, Pizza Hut on the Shanghai runway and Anna Wintour on late night round out the list.
Food and fashion collaborations certainly aren’t anything new. Chanel bought a Napa Valley winery while designer Jeremy Scott has dressed models like McDonald’s employees and chocolate bars. Handbags shaped like Chinese take-out boxes have also graced shelves, illustrating how an industry that seemingly had a very negative public relationship with food and eating can still call upon it for a little creative inspiration. This past year only saw that relationship grow and strengthen, especially on the food industry’s end. Capsule collections are the latest and greatest items on fast food menus while restaurant and shoe designers are putting their best feet forward for exclusive releases. From low end to high end, White Castle to Ralph Lauren, here are some of the most impressive food and fashion collaborations to come out of 2017.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Countertop Appliance Line
In addition to featuring food inspired ensembles and a line of designer noodles, this year saw the Italian fashion mavens fuse their signature style with a whole line of cooking appliances, adding another dimension to food and fashion collaborations. Working with the Italian home appliance manufacturer Smeg, Dolce & Gabbana vibrantly colored, visually striking juicers, toasters, coffee machines, kettles, blenders, and mixers featuring patterned fruit prints, including cherry, lemon, and pear. It’s a newer but welcomed addition to D&C’s frequent homage to Italy’s food heritage.
White Castle’s High-End Uniforms
From the eye-catching and color-popping lines from the likes of Taco Bell and Forever 21 or Trolli’s Sour Gummi collaboration with Mokuyobi to the more odd stuff coming out of KFC, (fast) foodie fashion was clearly in during 2017. But of all those partnerships, White Castle’s was perhaps the most serious tribute to style. Speaking to The Washington Street Journal, White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson said, “We’re not afraid of high fashion,” and it’s high-end capsule collection featuring several $100 shirts proves it. Created with Telfar, the same fashion company behind the chain’s new unisex employee uniforms, the collection features hats, hoodies, and tees with 100% of the proceeds going towards the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Liberty And Justice fund, to help pay bail for minors held on Rikers Island.
Ralph Lauren’s Latest Coffee Cafe and Bar
In 2017, Dolce & Gabbana got creative by putting out an exclusive line of pasta noodles, but Ralph Lauren went several steps further with their new brick and mortar tribute to coffee. Ralph’s Coffee & Bar opened earlier this year and is located right next to the new Polo European flagship store in London. The space—which can only seat 36 people—features saddle leather banquettes, a brass-topped bar and equestrian-themed artwork, similar to Lauren’s other establishments in New York City and Paris, France.The menu includes custom-roast coffee from organic La Colombe beans, cocktails like the Ridgway Margarita, light meals, and snacks.
Pantone Color Institute’s 2017 Color of the Year
Everyone’s been talking about Ultra Violet, Pantone’s newly named 2018 color of the year, but the global authority on design color standards was inspired, at least in part, by food when choosing its 2017 color. Greenery is a color based on the environment, and its selection was intended to speak to healthier food resolutions and growing vegetarian trends as much as the outdoors. Carrying that food appreciation over into 2018, Pantone announced that Cherry Tomato, Chili Oil and Lime Punch as part of its palette for the upcoming New York Fashion Week.
Milk Bar’s Collaboration With Madewell
Milk Bar, a famed New York City’s bakery, and Madewell, a women’s clothing company specializing in denim designs, are Brooklyn neighbors with a special appreciation for each other’s work. Thus, the Madewell x Milk Bar collaboration, a five-piece capsule collection featuring a denim apron, cookie-patterned bandana, cookie pocket tee, and the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. The capsule was noteworthy, but not necessarily for its food-inspired fashion. In fact, it was the reverse: a sweet treat inspired by clothing. Blue jean appreciation was the basis of the capsule’s fifth item, the now sold out “Blue(berry) Jeans Cookie Mix,” which featured bits of streusel crisp and morsels of dried blueberries.
London Fashion Week’s Designer Cocktails
As part of London’s annual fashion celebration, local establishments serve up special menus to honor the show’s various themes and designers. In 2017 that included London’s Great British Restaurant, which crafted a handful of drinks for those attending London Fashion Week and the London Fashion Week Festival. That includes tributes to denim brands like Black Orchid Denim and the iconic Malaysian shoe designer Jimmy Choo. Choo’s cocktail, The Jimmy Shoe Sour, was a mix of Midori, lemon juice, sugar syrup and an egg white, while The Black Orchid Martini featured vodka, espresso, Kahlua, vanilla extract and gomme syrup.
The Pastries and Pizzas on the Milan and Shanghai Runways
During Milan’s fashion week this past spring, Dolce & Gabbana brought a tasteful twist to the line’s Queen of Hearts themed runway show. Drawing from one of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical food references, many of D&C’s fruit and tart accents—from headbands and handbags to necklaces and earrings—were sweet nods to food found in Alice in Wonderland. Another notable food and runway collaboration? A sleek Pizza Hut and Georgette Q show during Shanghai’s Fashion Week. Inspired by the Hut’s Chinese market fall menu, the line includes food elements inspired by durian pizza, roasted vegetables, and tea drinks.
Heineken and Bathing Ape’s NYC Pop-Up
The food and drink industry’s team-ups with fashion designers is a big trend, perhaps only eclipsed by our current obsession with pop-ups. Heineken, and Bathing Ape—a Japanese streetwear brand—realized this and capitalized on it, creating their own pop-up for a limited capsule collection. Part of the #Heineken100 collaborations program, which sees the beer company partnering with designers like Kith and Public School, this latest team-up let beer and sneaker lovers over the age of 21 join them for a day in New York City’s East Village. The four pieces in this exclusive collection—a shark hoodie, camo-print jacket, t-shirt and a Heineken bottle carrier—started at $112.
Coca Cola’s Pumped Up Kicks
Food-inspired sneaker releases are increasingly more common, and not just from big brands. Luxury leather shoe company KOIO worked with The Flower Shop, a contemporary American dining spot, on a new sneaker that paid tribute to restaurant’s name and its rose petal cocktail. There was also the Ewing Athletics collaboration with New York City ice cream shop Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, a royal blue premium suede and leather shoe that drew upon Mikey’s brand colors, flavors, and even ice cream scoopers. But it’s ultimately Coke’s team up with Converse and KITH, a street gear retailer, to produce an all-white Chuck Taylor All Star ’70s shoe that stood out as the perfect collaborative balance between food and fashion. The design includes red embroidered Coke branding, a KITH logo on the toe, a raw hem finish and a green outsole on the sneaker’s bottom. It’s also just one facet of Coca-Cola’s major year in fashion, which introduced a clothing capsule collection with KITH, and more recently a stylish but functional line of laptop and sneaker bags courtesy of accessory brand HEX.
Anna Wintour on The Late Late Show
From the runway to the rack, fashion is having a fast food moment right now. Still, much of collaborative work hasn’t seen those on the fashion side indulge in food beyond the ways you can wear it. That changed when Anna Wintour, the British-American editor-in-chief of Vogue stopped by The Late Late Show with James Corden in a rare appearance and faced her fast-food eating fears. Playing the game Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts—a version of Truth or Dare with a food twist—Wintour was asked a series of tricky fashion questions (including who were her favorite designers from best to worst). The Vogue editor proved her unflinching poise and conquered several food fears most of us couldn’t, giving us a fun moment that took food and fashion in a place it rarely goes.