Fashion is in a tricky place right now. The industry is struggling to emerge from the recession, the new decade's defining fashions are finding their footing, and many of us may be destined to look like sloppy messes when we attempt to wear, and then stain, our all-white spring outfits, many of which aren't that exciting to begin with. But something darker has been lurking for too long in the shadows cast on catering tables, striving to be trendy, after being forlorn and not only forgotten about, but rejected for so long: the food. Chocolate fashion shows proliferate, Lady Gaga's meat dress still gets talked about like it was the most astonishing thing ever to happen to a cow, and even Barneys is making food items the supporting models in its catalogue. Chocolate-dress maker Joelle Mahoney knows firsthand the trouble with her medium:
"Try to keep the chocolate away from the armpit area," advises Ms. Mahoney, a self-described "chocolate artist."
Another problem? If you thought anything was high-maintenance on a fashion shoot, nothing is more high-maintenance than certain produce. As in, the kind you wear:
Los Angeles costume designer Mia Gyzander discovered different hurdles while creating a purple-and-green cabbage gown for Ms. Leachman, who wore it in an ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"I thought the deep burgundy was really pretty with her skin tone," Ms. Gyzander says. However, she soon realized that "the outside leaves are bigger and more flexible, but the inside ones are smaller and crumbly." It took three people 10 hours to select the biggest leaves off 70 heads of cabbage and sew them on.
And the photo series "Hunger Pains," commissioned in 2009 by photographer Ted Sabarese, in which models wear outfits made entirely of food, like waffle pants and a skirt made of rump roast, taught one model the dangers fraught with food-based clothing.
One hazard of posing for a food-clothing photo shoot, says model Bridget Ploof, who donned the bread outfit: "I was getting hungry." She recalls, "the studio smelled like waffles and pasta and bacon."
You know one of the strengths of the crudité and limp, cold sandwiches you might find at the catering station on a fashion shoot or at a fashion show: They don't have a smell.