The words “models” and “food” don’t necessarily end up in the same sentence too often, but that seems to be changing (thank goodness!). In recent years, fashion houses and high end designers have taken cross-merchandising to an all new level by making forays into the food industry. High end labels are cashing in on this new trend, and the result is the emergence of a surprising “classic American” influence in the European market.
Since the Euro’s devaluation and the Greek financial crisis, Europe has looked towards it’s long-time friend and rival (it’s a love/hate thing) America for inspiration and, (dare we say) revival. Ralph Lauren, the classic American icon, recently opened a 13,000 square foot flagship store in Paris complete with a restaurant respectively called “Ralph’s”. Hamburgers and fries will be served on the boulevard of St. Germain, the ground zero for the mish mash of food and fashion, and home of notable cafes such as Flore.
Lauren expects only the highest of quality for his customers, so naturally the Angus beef is shipped from his ranch in Colorado. As if the American cuisine wasn’t enough of a blow for our baugette lovers, Ralph enlisted the help of Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group to teach the all-French staff how to properly prepare American classics such as fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
Another Euro/American meeting of the minds (and stomachs) comes from Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who has designed a limited edition diet coke bottle adorned with his silhouette and signature. Diet Coke has been Lagerfield’s favorite beverage, as he also is known to employ Diet Coke-specific butlers, which seems a tad more specialization than the profession necessarily calls for. Diet Coke (or Coca-Cola Light if you are in the Euro-zone) has been an American export for decades. Given their newly Frenchified twist, it only stands to reason that the Lagerfield design sets itself apart, and indeed, his bottles come in a stylish box, with a bottle opener discretely hidden in one of the drawers.
Indeed, given these steps, one wonders where this process could end? Nabisco pulling a Target and bring Issac Mizrahi back from wherever he is to design boxes? McDonald’s following Ryan Air’s lead and going with designer uniforms? Could be anything – and given the way fashion surrounds and defines our lives, we can only assume this trend will continue and accelerate.