What Food and Fashion Have in Common

Bon Appétit editor at large and Bureau X founder Christine Muhlke. Photo courtesy of Melanie Dunea

When New York Fashion Week gets underway on February, 9 downtown Manhattan will be buzzing with eye-catching garments, the well-heeled fashion elite and food. Yes, food.

The creative process behind both food and fashion involves inspiration, an appreciation of history, a willingness to experiment, the selection of tools—whether it be fabric or ingredients—and endless revisions. As Americans have become more interested in what they’re eating, food, like fashion, plays a growing role as a signifier of style.

In advance of NYFW, we spoke with Bon Appétit editor at large and Bureau X founder Christine Muhlke who has written about the relationship between food and fashion. Here she shares the shows she’s looking forward to seeing, how she see trends in both food and fashion trickle down and a few of her essential New York café, restaurants and bars.

Edible Manhattan: NYFW is coming up, anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing?
Christine Muhlke: I always love Maria Cornejo’s and Rachel Comey‘s shows: Theirs are the clothes I most like to wear, and they have such a dedicated following of smart, interesting women in the audience. Opening Ceremony always has a brilliant show—and, wow, Kanye and Hood by Air push things forward exponentially. And I can’t wait to see what Raf Simons does in his debut for Calvin Klein. We’re lucky to have him in New York City.

EM: In the past few years it seems like food and fashion have sort of fed off of each other, why do you think there is that intersection?
CM: Because food is cool! But seriously, it brings people together and inspires genuine passion (and pleasure). Many designers are secret foodies.

EM: What are some of the parallels you see between food and fashion?
CM: Seasonality. Trendiness. The relentless pressure to constantly reinvent the basics.

EM: You’ve written in the past about how trends in both food and fashion trickle down do you see trends become more democratized or is there still that trickle down effect?
CM: What’s new is that the designers at Balenciaga and Hood by Air are taking their inspiration from street style—and really alternative style at that—and bringing it to a high level. It then trickles down from there, which is kind of hilarious—and brilliant.

EM: What are some of your favorite New York City restaurants to eat at, and what do you or what should we order at them?

Té Company


I’m always at Te Company for Frederico’s perfect tortilla and homemade bread and Elena’s oolong pairings.

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery


Mah Ze Dahr Bakery is downstairs from me. I bought the “Black Card” so I could have their pastries every day. I love the Chocolate Explosion Cookie, the MZD Bar and the cream-filled brioche donut.

Achilles Heel


Achilles Heel is always special. The chef at this waterfront Greenpoint bar serves really interesting, deceptively simple food using just two induction burners. And Sunday night’s Hell Chicken is so fun.



My favorite late-night bite is the $5 cheeseburger at Julius’s, one of the oldest (and still coolest) gay bars in New York.