The rise of luxury culinary experiences that collide fashion and food

Why iconic fashion houses are now opening up bars, restaurants and pastry shops

8 Feb 2024

Trend Updates
Hype & Trend Signal

In an era where consumer culture intertwines fashion with lifestyle choices, a new trend is emerging at the intersection of haute couture and haute cuisine. Fashion brands are delving into the culinary world, setting up cafes, restaurants and pastry shops, signaling a fusion of taste and style. 

This convergence isn't just about savoring delectable treats; it's a strategic move to captivate Gen Z consumers and create immersive brand experiences. For the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate industry, this trend presents an opportunity to leverage craftsmanship and consumer habits in novel ways.

Recent collaborations between fashion powerhouses and culinary hotspots underscore this burgeoning trend. British luxury fashion house Burberry – famous for its trench coats and check patterns – took over the London-based Norman’s Cafe, a breakfast spot serving British classics. In the week leading up to the Spring/Summer 2024 London Fashion Week, the eatery was transformed with Burberry plaid curtains and tableware featuring the horseman from the Burberry logo. The menu featured items such as the ‘Thomas Burberry Sandwich’: sourdough bread with roast beef, horseradish cream and watercress. 

Burberry at Norman’s Cafe

Louis Vuitton chocolates

In Paris, Louis Vuitton opened Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton, a café and chocolate shop housed in the luxurious hotel Cheval Blanc Paris. There, Maxime Frédéric – the 2022 Gault & Millau Pastry Chef of the Year – serves pastries and chocolates inspired by the fashion house’s iconic motifs and prints. Think chocolates with the LV monogram and pastries shaped like the leather brand's iconic flowers. 

Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton

Designer restaurants aren’t new

Fashion houses venturing into the world of food isn’t entirely novel. Luxury brands such as Prada, Armani, and Bulgari pioneered the trend in the late 20th century as they opened up their own restaurants and cafes. Some famous examples include the Chanel collaboration with renowned French chef Alain Ducasse. Together they opened restaurant Beige in the Chanel headquarters and flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo in 2004. The restaurant with two Michelin stars is characterized by modern French cuisine. Since 2018, Gucci has opened four restaurants around the world together with chef Massimo Bottura, called Gucci Osteria. In Florence, LA, Seoul, and Tokyo they offer a taste of Italian luxury with dishes that capture the youthful energy Gucci embodies. 

Gucci Osteria

Experiential marketing

Although the designer restaurant or cafe isn’t new, the number of new food outlets opened by fashion houses has grown over the last few years. It’s part of the experiential marketing strategies these brands have taken on. When Dior gave their headquarters on 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris a make-over, they didn’t just create a flagship store, but included a museum, restaurant, patisserie, the original office of Monsieur Dior and an apartment for overnight stays. 

Connecting consumers with brands

“One of the most exciting aspects of the 30 Montaigne project is that it is a journey through the inner essence of the brand, expressed through the architecture, interior design and experience of each space”, says the store’s architect Peter Marino to Wallpaper. “It’s not one idea throughout, but rather, a walk-through spaces that tell a story, that keeps the customer engaged and emotionally connected with Dior from start to finish.”

Dior’s 30 Avenue Montaigne

Immersive brand experiences

The multi-sensorial experience of a restaurant visit is the perfect way for luxury labels to let fans sample their brand identity with all senses. There’s the interior, the tableware, the plating, the smell and, of course, the taste of the dishes. All of which can convey the heritage of the brand and enhance the artisanal quality. The convergence of food and fashion isn't just about savoring delectable treats; it's a strategic move to captivate consumers and create immersive brand experiences

Celebration of craftsmanship

By investing in the artistry of food presentation and preparation, high-end brands cultivate a sense of exclusivity and sophistication that resonates with discerning consumers. At the heart of this trend lies the emphasis on craftsmanship and attention to detail. The curated culinary experiences that fashion brands create, reflect their commitment to excellence. Collaborations with renowned chefs and culinary creatives elevate these experiences. Chefs were called the new rock stars not so long ago, but now they seem to become the new fashion icons.    

Consumer spending

Another factor contributing to the fusion of fashion and gastronomy is the shift in consumer spending. People are spending more of their income on wellness, hospitality and dining nowadays. In America, roughly 49% of the money spent on food by consumers goes towards eating out. That makes it commercially interesting to transform underperforming retail spaces into hospitality venues, an enticing move for labels looking to position themselves as lifestyle brands. 

Choo Cafe by Jimmy Choo

Brand diversification

By opening a coffee shop, patisserie or bar, fashion houses can broaden their audience and diversify their revenue streams. And by positioning those outlets in their flagship stores, they hope consumers will end up purchasing some products as well. Either way, the food experiences contribute to customer loyalty and help to raise brand awareness. The pop-up cafes at the Harrods department store in London by brands such as Jimmy Choo in 2022 and Prada in 2023 provide tremendous media coverage.

Gen Z is driving the trend

Gen Z consumers are an especially important driver for this trend. As an article by Vogue Business headlined: ‘To Gen Z food is the new luxury’. Young consumers are crazy for social media aesthetics and place great value on authenticity. This has “propelled food to the forefront of luxury consumption” according to Vogue. As digital natives, Gen Z’ers seek authenticity, personalization, and social validation in their purchasing decisions and they embrace culinary experiences as status symbols and cultural currency. A survey conducted by Vogue Business pointed out that more than half of 16 to 24-year-old Teen Vogue, Glamour and Allure readers in the US, have bought what they consider to be luxury food or drink in the last year.

Want to explore more examples of these food outlets by fashion houses?

Take a look at:

Be the first to know about new food trends 

Year-round we share the latest consumer insights, upcoming bakery, cake, pastry & chocolate hypes and flavor trends on Taste Sign up for our newsletter to stay ahead of the curve.

Related Articles

The latest wellness revolution: plant-based snacks with functional ingredients

The latest wellness revolution: plant-based snacks with functional ingredients

Explore the latest trend in plant-based snacks infused with functional foods! From nutrient-packed pastries to superfood chocolates, discover the perfect balance of indulgence and wellness. Dive into the future of healthy snacking now!

Valentine’s Day patisserie inspiration from the most romantic city in the world: Paris

Valentine’s Day patisserie trends from romantic Paris

Elevate your Valentine’s Day creations with patisserie inspiration from the heart of romance: Paris.

The 2023 flavor trends you might’ve missed

The 2023 flavor trends you might’ve missed (and will dominate 2024)

Look back on the biggest and newest pastry, chocolate and baked goods flavor trends from last year and unwrap the delectable secrets of the coming year. Find out now.

Unveiling the biggest consumer trends and desires in sustainable eating for 2024

Decoding the top consumer desires for sustainable foods in 2024

The demand for eco-friendly food choices has never been more pronounced. 64% of people look for products that are produced sustainably. Discover which sustainable efforts consumers desire most.