08.26.09

Harvesting Fall's Fashions

A new cookbook featuring designers’ recipes comes out just in time for the autumn bounty. Renata Espinosa on the essential connection between food, farms, and style.

It could be the weekly Santa Monica Farmer’s Market report I listen to on KCRW’s Good Food weekly podcast (there’s nothing quite like imagining food that is 3,000 miles away while you’re jogging), or it could be my passage through the brimming August greenmarket in Manhattan’s Union Square three times a week, but I have food on the brain more than fashion. As much as the bounty of fruits and vegetables is a celebration of summer, my intense focus on produce is also a lamentation of its end. Now that harvest season has arrived, the taste in my mouth is a little bittersweet because come September, there will be little time for perfecting pie fillings and sautéing leafy greens.

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Summer is pretty much over for designers, too, who are in the final stages of preparations for the presentation of their Spring 2010 collections—New York Fashion Week starts September 10. With the long hours that they’re putting in during the crunch, I’m guessing that at least a few are finding solace in comfort food. Is Isaac Mizrahi whipping up batches of mushroom truffle spaghetti every night? How many jars of pickled watermelon does Derek Lam have stored in his refrigerator, ready to be paired with yellowtail crudo? These are two of the recipes included in the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s new cookbook, American Fashion Cookbook, a collection of recipes submitted by designers just published by Assouline (with a foreword by Martha Stewart). And for those wanting to prolong their holidays, Catherine Malandrino offers the best solution in the instructions that accompany her recipe for “Le Panier de Crudites”: “Serve on a white tablecloth along with un Rose de Provence, the song of the cicadas as music and a field of lavender as a landscape.”

But rather than use food merely as an escape from fashion, there are ways to combine the two beyond just eating the results of designers’ recipe for sausage puffs (Jeff Halmos of Shipley Halmos) and artichoke dip (Cindy Greene of Libertine). For instance, dressing like a farmstand fruit. This fall, Stella McCartney will be the go-to for days you wake up in a Violet Beauregarde blueberry kind of mood; then there’s Alexander McQueen for a grownup Goth take on Strawberry Shortcake. Prada and Miu Miu have the nightshade plants covered—tomato and eggplant—and for those who like their chile on their enchiladas “Christmas” style (both green and red), then this season Dries Van Noten is for you. Next season, I can’t wait for the Julia Child-inspired color palettes—duck a l' orange, beef bourguignon, but for now, bidding adieu to summer calls for something a little more Alice Waters: view our gallery of farm-fresh fashion.

Plus: Check out Fashion Beast, for more news on the latest runway shows, hot designers, and emerging trends.

Renata Espinosa is the New York editor of Fashion Wire Daily. She is also the co-founder of impressionistic fashion and art blog TheNuNu and a sometimes backup dancer for "The Anna Copa Cabanna Show."