Culinary Couture

10 ways food has been used to make clothing

I love eating. Food provides me with many fulfilling joys and enlightens my soul. I also love fashion. It takes me, along with other fashion fanatics, to a whole new, vibrant world. You can only imagine my elation when I found out that Lady Gaga was not the first or only wacky fashion icon to use food as a clothing material. There is a whole world out there of designers and artists who are bringing the kitchen into the atelier. Here are ten of my favourites.

1 // Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic
Before Lady Gaga came along, Canadian artist Jana Sterbak’s original meat dress created national controversy as it portrayed a contrast between bodily decomposition and narcissism. Her piece consisted of $300 worth of raw steak sewn together. This legendary dress has attracted a massive amount of publicity throughout the years and paved a path for modern artists.

2 // Rock The Meat
It wasn’t unusual for a gritty punk rock band from the late 70’s to have a very bizarre album cover. The Undertones’ featured a woman wearing pieces of meat as a dress, held together with saran wrap around her body, and completed with a sausage necklace for their compilation album, All Wrapped Up. Can’t get any more rock ‘n’ roll than that.

3 // Surreal Fantasy
The most famous surrealist of all time, Salvador Dali, created an extraordinary pavilion called Dream of Venus at the 1939 New York World’s Fair which featured remarkable underwater fantasy sculptures and semi-nude women parading around in themed outfits. One of the most prominent pieces involved a blindfolded model with a giant lobster belt and necklace.

4 // WTF, a Wine Dress?
Trying to explain the process of how to make a dress out of wine when I have a word limit can be very hard. So here is a link to satisfy your scientific curiosities. This dress uses biological fermentation to mold itself into a garment; no sewing, stitching, stapling, or glue guns involved.

5 // Lettuce Take a Moment
Project Runway is a favourite pastime that never fails to disappoint. Season 4 finalist, Chris March, created this outrageous yet elegant dress made out of $50 worth of lettuce. Wish-Bone used this dress to promote its salad dressings. Easy on the pocket and easier on the eyes, here is another tribute to the low-calorie leafy greens.

6 // Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Jeremy Scott’s fall 2006 collection definitely turned heads and sparked drooling mouths with this spaghetti dress and meatball accessories.

7 // It’s Gonna Be a Sweet Wedding
Personally, I’ve always wanted a guy who could cook me delicious meals. Imagine my jealously when this baker from Ukraine surprises his lucky bride-to-be by making her a wedding dress out of cream puffs. Made out of eggs, sugar, flour, and caramel, this gown contained a whooping 1,500 cream puffs. I think I hear my stomach grumbling.

8 // Coco Jerky
What does one think of when they hear the word Chanel? Is it the iconic French designer? Or is it a quilted bag made of beef jerky? Nancy Wu has accomplished the impossible. Hand-sewn sheets of dried meat never looked more chic. Made from 100% pure beef jerky, this Chanel-inspired bag is the perfect accessory to nibble on while out for a night on the town. Anyone know where I can get one?

9 // Elegant Veggies
With the vision of promoting vegetarianism in mind, PETA enlisted the help of Cloris Leachman, amongst many others, who sported a long gown made completely of leafy lettuce and red cabbage.

10 // Wearable Foods Extraordinaire
Sung Yeon Ju is a Korean artist who recently created a series called Wearable Foods made out of, well, wearable foods—mostly fruits and vegetables, but also bubble gum and even chicken feathers. The idea behind the collection is to highlight the interchange between actual and perceived reality. The result is absolutely stunning.