Published November 20, 2011
When you get dressed in the morning you're more likely to cook up a stack of waffles than slip on a pair of waffle pants.
But, if the mood strikes, you can literally have your pants and eat them too, as designers are increasingly making clothing and accessories out of real food, or at least what looks like real food.
Take for example an octopus top paired with a seaweed miniskirt, or a quail egg necklace. These are just some of the creations made by Austrian chef Roland Trettl that can be found at the Museum of Communication's Fashion Food exhibition in Berlin, Germany --and a taste of what some designers are cooking up.
It's certainly not the first time people have draped themselves in edible delights. Who can forget Lady Gaga’s meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards or her barely-there meat bikini on the cover of Vogue?
Franc Fernandez, designer of Lady Gag's famous dress, says that designers have long been using food as an inspiration for their craft. He says his Gaga creation took two days just for the design process. He said the meat came from his Argentinean family butcher and he picked cuts with more fat and grease, like skirt steak, that are easier to work with because they have less blood which can turn a dress brown. “Gaga said it was fine and the most comfortable dress of the night. She actually said she liked the way it smelled like a butcher shop.”
Fernandez says the dress was hardly end of his foray blending food and fashion. If the idea of smelling like a butcher shop is too much for you, then check out Fernandez’s new t-shirts, a women’s dress and tank top, and men’s underwear made out of poly-blend cotton that looks like real meat.
“I photographed the meat pieces used to make Lady Gaga’s dress before they were sewn together so the actual meat pieces you see on the shirt were actually on the dress. It’s the real meat you’re looking at. The whole idea was to commemorate the dress,” Fernandez says. The t-shirts are $150 and the other pieces should be out soon.
But before Gaga’s meat obsession, photographer Ted Sabarese was pushing the limits of incorporating food into fashion. In a series titled “Hunger Pains” he had models wear clothing that depicted their personal food cravings. Designer Ami Goodheart said she created five outfits for the shoot that were made entirely out of foods like meat, pasta, artichokes, bread, and waffles.
There was a meat skirt made of tenderloin she decided to pair with a top made of dried potatoes. The pasta outfit she created features ravioli shorts and a shirt made out of several pasta noodles. The stunning artichoke dress cost hundreds of dollars to make says Goodheart, but the result was worth it. Accompanying the dress is a radish ring and an artichoke hair accessory. The bread outfit was one of Goodheart’s favorites because of the Alexander Macqueen inspired sleeves made out of challah bread. The skirt is made of bruschetta like crackers and the buttons on the top are actually brownies. The last look was the idea of fruit and waffles. The model’s top is banana peels with carrots and his pants are entirely made of waffles.
“The meat skirt was the most challenging to make because we didn’t want it to go bad,” says Goodheart.
Goodheart thinks it may not be realistic to make clothing out of real food for more than a one-time use, but says the colors and textures are definitely amazing to work with. She’s not opposed to creating clothing made out of dried foods and experimenting more with food to develop things everyone can wear.
Goodheart, who also designed several pieces for Lady Gaga, says because of her meat skirt many people mistakenly think she designed Lady Gaga’s VMA dress instead of Fernandez. “I laughed about it. I didn’t really like the dress she wore because it looked sloppy,” she says.
Now it’s not only clothing that designers are taking inspiration from food. Jewelry designer, Onch who has designed eye-popping jewelry for A-List clients like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and Kate Moss, is also following suit. Onch personally designed a necklace for Nicki Minaj to rock at this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. It looks and feels like a tasty deep-fried chicken wing, but it’s pink.
“I am so grateful that Nicki Minaj appreciates what I am doing…it really takes a very special talent and a very special person to be able to rock it with pride,” he says.
None of Onch’s pieces are real food, but he does have a word of caution for those who sport his pieces. “They feel and look like the real thing. And the funniest thing is if you have a pet doggy or a pet they will kind of gravitate towards it so definitely don’t wear a meat – lace to the zoo.”
The meat-lace is Onch’s version of a meat slab necklace inspired by what else: but Lady Gaga’s meat dress.
Onch didn’t actually take digital images of Gaga’s dress like Fernandez to design the meat-lace, but he describes his necklace as more of a fatty cut, while Lady Gaga’s dress was more “beautiful marble” cuts.
From lollipop and banana necklaces --in all different colors, to a bacon choker, you’re sure to find something that makes a true fashionista statement, says Onch. “What’s the point of wearing something if people won’t react to it? You’ll never be disappointed by the amount of ooh’s and aww’s and attention you will get when you wear the jewelry.”
All of Onch’s jewelry is available on his website or at his Los Angeles store and he says a new piece will be coming out soon. The inside scoop he gave me on the piece is that “its very rainbowful,” and it's inspiration is something“you can find it at McDonalds.”
While these creations look good Onch, Fernandez and Goodheart agree that clothing and accessories made out of real food would be fun to wear for a day, but it would probably be gross to continually wear. As with Lady Gaga's dress -- which was dipped in chemicals, dried and painted for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit -- keeping the food items looking fresh is half the challenge.
But the designers say it is worth experimenting with food for its dynamic qualities.