You are what you eat, but in the world of high-end fashion, you’re also what you wear. Here we look at 15 incredible cases in which food and fashion have been fused, resulting in spectacular and often bizarre creations. The outfits are like savory feasts for the senses to relish. And from bubblegum and eggplant to gelatin and beef jerky, the ingredients for these über-imaginative designs combine to create challenging fashion-meets-art pieces that are likely to have perished before you even finish reading about them. We present the 15 most delectably inspiring clothing items made of food.
15. Wedding Cake Dress – Lukka Sigurdardóttir
Brides spend an exhausting amount of time and money ensuring that every single detail of their wedding goes perfectly. Perhaps aiming to kill two birds with one stone, Icelandic artist Lukka Sigurdardóttir has combined two major wedding details: a wedding dress and a wedding cake. The result is an extremely fashionable, unique – and edible – piece that would be difficult to address as anything other than tasteful. After all, the bottom of Sigurdardóttir’s bell-shaped creation is made entirely of cake. And with a two-for-one quality like this, the rest should be, well, a piece of cake.
14. Gummy Bear Dress – Hissa Igarashi and Sayuri Murakami
Following the death of acclaimed British fashion designer Alexander McQueen in 2010, models and fashionistas everywhere mourned the troubled young guru’s passing. New York-based stylists Hissa Igarashi and Sayuri Murakami paid homage the only way they knew how, through fashion. The pair created a deliciously daring gown made completely of gummy bears for the inaugural issue of New York fashion magazine TWELV. The finished dress weighed a whopping 220 pounds, and each of the 50,000 gummy bears was meticulously applied by hand. We have to wonder whether model Jessica Pitti, who wore the dress, snuck a few gummies during the photo shoot; after all, it did last over four hours.
13. Cultivated Couture – Emily Crane
London-based designer Emily Crane has certainly turned the heat up on the fashion industry. Like some kind of avant-garde scientist, the 25-year-old set up shop in the kitchen, of all places, to sew food and fashion together. “I experiment with materials that occur naturally when cooked up from edible ingredients, including gelatines, kappa carrageenan [and] agar-agar,” Crane commented, adding, “This is high-tech kitchen couture.” The Kingston University graduate has consulted food aficionados rather than fashion gurus in order to create a stunning line of edible fashion pieces, or “micro-nutrient couture.” She also plans to produce and sell do-it-yourself kits with which consumers can pull together their own food-inspired fashion.
12. 100% Beef Jerky Purse – Nancy Wu
Every gal needs the perfect accessories for a big date: makeup, jewelry, shoes and a matching purse. However, if you choose to carry California-based product design student Nancy Wu’s replica purse – made entirely of beef jerky – you can skip the appetizers and head right on to the main course. And should you be worried about style, Wu’s “100% Beef Jerky” purse proudly bears the Chanel emblem, mimicking the brand’s classic 2.55 design. Wu paid special attention to detail, diligently ensuring the bag’s famous quilted appearance and gold chain – which she reproduced using edible gold leaf and Slim Jims – were incorporated into her meaty replica.
11. Meat Dress – Franc Fernandez
Lady Gaga raised more than a few eyebrows – and turned even more stomachs – when she appeared on the red carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress made out of meat. It was Argentinean designer Franc Fernandez who put a little flesh on Gaga’s bones with this grizzly creation. Fernandez even designed a pair of meat shoes and a meat purse – the latter of which Gaga handed to Cher when she won Best Video of the Year for “Bad Romance” – to complete the look. The singer claimed that the dress, which added around 50 pounds to her small frame, was very comfortable to wear.
10. Red Wine Dress – Donna Franklin and Gary Cass
Most people prefer to drink their wine rather than wear it; in fact, wearing wine is usually telltale evidence of a messy night out. However, this design blends high-tech science and high-end fashion to create a sticky, seductive red dress that grows, or rather ferments, by itself. Eschewing more traditional methods, experimental designers Donna Franklin and Gary Cass developed their “Micro’be’ fermented fashion” – using microbes to produce material for clothing. They’re hard at work trying to prove that this type of development could be the fashion of the future, and this uniquely styled seamless red dress gives an idea of what we might expect.
9. Transient Consumables – Diana Kovacheva
Diana Kovacheva is a Bulgarian-raised designer whose love for futuristic and experimental design led her to the Textile Futures program at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design at the University of the Arts London. And although she only graduated in 2012, Kovacheva’s designs are forward thinking and – quite literally – challenge the tastes of fashion lovers and consumers. Her project named “Transient Consumables” eschews traditional clothing materials, opting instead for those that have expiration dates. “How would seasonal trends be defined in this imaginable fashion world?” asked Kovacheva. We’re sure her answer would involve her own ideas, like this strawberry-inspired creation that fits snugly around the model’s shoulder.
8. Salad Dress – Chris March
Designer Chris March was a contestant on Heidi Klum’s Bravo reality show Project Runway for a reason: he’s a forward-thinking fashion genius. March has designed everything from costumes for popular musical Beach Blanket Babylon to clothing for stars including Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Prince and Meryl Streep. His crazy designs often tend to veer towards the more innovative and surprising side of haute couture. For example, this dress – which not only looks like, but actually is made out of bits of salad – features a snug-fitting black bodice attached to a knee-length skirt concocted from cabbage and lettuce leaves. The look also incorporated some fake, prop elements, but we can stomach that.
7. Bread Dress – Ted Sabarese and Ami Goodheart
With this design for her Hunger Pains project alongside photographer Ted Sabarese, Ami Goodheart didn’t just have one bun in the oven. Rather, her mind was fertile with multiple ideas, and this well-baked savory outfit features various types of bread. Large loaves serve as oversized shoulder pads, and the dress is accessorized by a matching bread-themed purse. “I always wanted an Hermès Birkin, but hey, that’s a lot of dough,” Goodheart joked. The designer worked closely with Sabarese as well as a crew of 15 from her own SOTU Productions company, and the photo shoot took 18 hours to complete. The work was done in a 5,000-square-foot studio, which of course included a full kitchen to bring the ideas to life.
6. Eggplant Dress – Yeonju Sung
In 2009 envelope-pushing South Korean fine artist and photographer Yeonju Sung began a project appropriately titled Wearable Foods. Described by Sung as “Constructed art forms made with food,” the series is just that: attractive fashion designs created using different foodstuffs, which Sung then artfully photographs. Sung’s designs, such as this whimsical but undeniably beautiful “Eggplant Dress,” have been shown at exhibitions around the world. Her focus is on the dichotomy between the highly ephemeral nature of the garments themselves and the lasting photographic images that result. “We mislead ourselves thinking that the temporary images possess the type of fanciful and fresh sensation in the photographic reality forever,” Sung has explained.
5. Lettuce-Trimmed Kimono – Chris March
Chris March strikes again with this Asian-inspired veggie kimono dress for Wish-Bone’s 2007 New York Summer Salad Fashion Show. The outfit features a lettuce-adorned kimono and matching produce-inspired headpiece and fan. It was worn for the show Puttin’ on the Spritz, which March directed. Since his Project Runway days, March has also starred in his very own reality television show, Mad Fashion, and frequently appears on Bravo’s reality spinoff The Real Housewives of New York. In 2013, March partnered with Target, releasing a range of wacky Halloween wigs exclusively available from the retail giant.
4. Banana Peel Vest and Waffle Pants – Ted Sabarese and Ami Goodheart
In 2009 photographer Ted Sabarese teamed up with SOTU Productions CEO and good friend Ami Goodheart for a visionary food/fashion project entitled Hunger Pains. Paired with the fashion sense of Goodheart, Sabarese’s idea produced some of the most eclectic and unique clothing made out of repurposed food materials imaginable. For this design, Goodheart constructed a vest formed from banana peel and pants made of waffles. When asked about the challenges of working with food, Goodheart stated, “The waffle pants were hard because I kept eating them as we went along.” Sabarese explained that the project was inspired by his fascination “with the relationship between people and what they eat.”
3. Bubblegum Dress – Yeonju Sung
South Korean artist Yeonju Sung’s creative and experimental Wearable Foods project forces audiences to contemplate what clothing actually represents, as well as the role that it plays in our lives. Bubblegum is a very disposable food type. It’s only good for a short amount of time before the flavor vanishes and it’s time to throw it away. Contrastingly, clothing is intended to be worn over and over again, making a statement to the world and – hopefully – filling the wearer with a sense of pride. Sung certainly makes a statement with this delicate-looking jacket design made out of bubblegum. What’s more, like bubblegum, the jacket has a short shelf life and – issues of stickiness aside – would not last long at all if it were worn.
2. Kale Dress – Ted Sabarese and Ami Goodheart
To create this incredible “Kale Dress,” SOTU Productions CEO Ami Goodheart was inspired by an experience she had while walking around the produce section of her local Whole Foods store. Goodheart described the winter kale that dressed the aisles of the grocery store as “a perfect ombré of jade greens and luscious violets and magentas.” She added, “I just picked up a bunch of it at Whole Foods and held it by my butt like a bustle with curls of ruffles. I thought, ‘Oh my God, I MUST have it!’” The kale went on to inspire the entire collection and, just like that, another tasty food-meets-fashion vision became a reality.
1. White Chocolate Wedding Dress – Ian Stuart
It’s a beautiful day for a white chocolate wedding – at least, in British designer Ian Stuart’s mind. Stuart’s striking white chocolate wedding dress gives Icelandic designer Lukka Sigurdardóttir a run for her money. The dress was designed for Rococo Chocolates to mark National Chocolate Week in 2009. With the help of designer Chantal Coady, Stuart made the dress by using an actual wedding dress bodice submerged in chocolate, adorning it with white chocolate truffles and curls, with layers of netting covered in chocolate completing the look of the skirt. The accompanying hat was fashioned using matching chocolate curls and truffles and features a white chocolate feather extending from the brim. Displaying the designers’ attention to detail, even the shoes have chocolate curls incorporated into the design, making this head-to-toe ensemble a temptation that would be very hard to resist.