When Mr. Swinky first told me that the ‘next big thing’ in the food world was the Whoopie Pie it got me thinking about food and fashion. When did food become fashionable and fashion become food-y?
Cupcakes have been ‘fashionable’ for years thanks to the infamous scene in ‘Sex and the City’ where Carrie and Miranda treat themselves to one outside the Magnolia Bakery in New York. Since then, a cupcake craze has seemingly taken over the world, and not just as a food. Cupcake jewellery, clothes and other kitsch pieces have sprung up everywhere. While I love cupcakes myself, I have to confess that since working at Swinky’s most of my birthday and Christmas presents have consisted of various cutesy items to the point where my bedroom now looks like someone has loaded a machine-gun with cupcakes and shot it all over the room. Why have cupcakes become so popular?
Some say that cupcakes symbolise the mini luxury of being able to have your teeny-tiny cake, eat it, and not feel like it will add three inches to your waistline. As well as this, a cupcake can be seen as more cost-effective way of treating yourself. For example, if I’ve done well at university, my bank balance breathes a sigh of relief as I pass all the clothes stores along Park Street and decide instead to celebrate with a Banoffee cupcake. I think by far the best reason to explain cupcake popularity is versatility. Cupcakes seem to be the chameleon of the food world. With the huge range of colours, flavours, decorations and styles, they can be completely tailored to make anyone smile from cutest of girls to the butchest of men. Speaking of tailoring, in my research for this blog I found various pictures depicting a designer’s take on cupcake decoration, my favourite being Chanel’s delicate, sophisticated interpretation:
However, despite the fact that I have depicted fashion and food as being amicably hand-in-hand there also seems to be rivalry. When going clothes shopping recently in Topshop, I found myself face-to-face with neatly-packaged retro sweets as I queued up to buy a fitted dress. Suddenly I was confused- what sort of message were they trying to send me? I certainly didn’t think that the models pictured around the store had ever tucked into a bag of Flying Saucers like I had, yet there it was whispering “eat me, don’t worry about fitting into that dress…” Luckily, I live by the rule of everything in moderation and will happily eat sweets and cakes without worrying about the consequences, but the mixed messages being given could be very confusing. We seem to be implicitly taught that to be fashionable, it helps to be thin and to be thin, it helps to keep away from sugar. So how could cupcakes be fashionable?
I’ll leave you to decide what the relationship between food and fashion really is and in the meantime enjoy the cupcake craze while it’s around (who knows, we might be going crazy for Whoopie Pie in a couple of years!)
Red Velvet XX