Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prêt-à-Portea: Fashionista's Afternoon Tea during London's Fashion Week

It's Fashion Week in London! Think of the designers, the new looks, the accessories, the parties, the after-parties, the mornings after the after-parties.... Think of the cookies!

The Berkeley Hotel in London is having its famous Fashionistas' Afternoon Tea, Prêt-à-Portea. It features cookies, cakes and petit fours inspired by current fashion trends seen on the runways.

The treats are designed to look like couture of some of the world's top fashion icons, and are based on fashions and also accessories. Pastry chefs visit London fashion week shows to get their inspiration for the colors and the textures of the new collections. Designers are pleased when their pieces are recreated by the chefs at The Berkeley.

From a 2004 Telegraph interview:

"Pastry chef Angela Esparasa visits fashion shows for inspiration and then sits down with fashion editors from magazines including Vogue, W and Harpers & Queen to fine-tune the key looks.

"'Some things translate very easily, but others can be really tricky. Not all fashion is edible,' she explains. An Armani choux bun was deemed insufficiently chic to make the final line-up this season.

"'The committee is very tough on us – it took weeks to get the exact shade of pink for a Matthew Williamson-inspired meringue.' International labels now clamour to have their accessories included. Fendi campaigned to have its famous baguette bag in the spring/summer collection and Chanel, which at first refused to allow its coveted handbags to be replicated, is now begging to be part of the tea."

This season's menu lists the following delicacies:

Lavin duo of blueberry and passion fruit mousse with flowing bright yellow meringue

Balmain almond macaroon jacket filled with white chocolate and pistachio ganache

Hervé Léger vivid orange bikini vanilla biscuit with signature criss-cross banding

Alexander McQueen ‘Elvie’ chocolate truffle tote wrapped in mint flavoured marzipan

Christian Louboutin coconut cream sponge cake shoe topped with metallic frill

Christopher Kane clementine bavaroise with signatureover-sized circles of pate de fruit

Oscar de la Renta black and white belted chocolate dress biscuit

Josh Goot blocked dress of strawberry pannacotta and mango crèmetopped with kiwi marshmallows

Michael Kors red and blue striped Regatta dress cake of rich Valrhona chocolate

Delivery service, via a Vespa in their signature colors of pistachio green and pale pink, is available in the London SW1 area is available this year.

The blog, WornThrough: Apparel from an academic perspective, has a great report on The Prêt-à-Portea experience.

The tradition was recenly carried on during February's Fashion Week 2009 in Café BG, Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant in New York.

Reports were that the lineup of edibles included Michael Kors' red and blue striped Regatta dress done as a mousse, Chanel's quilted handbag as a petit four and an edible Christian Louboutin crystal pump complete with red sole.

What's Cooking in America has a report of the New York version complete with delectable photos.

Source photos from  Harper's Bazaar UK

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