While fashion and food weren’t automatically linked together in the past (think of all the skinny models), the last few years have seen major fashion brands like Burberry, Armani, Ralph Lauren and Dior rushing to open cafés, restaurants and bars. Thinking about it, winning their customer’s hearts through their stomachs seems to make a lot of sense. Firstly, these gastronomic venues give fashion companies another way to show off their immaculate tastes. And financially speaking, more time spent at a store equals customers spending more money. With a social space to take a break in, they don’t feel they have to leave quickly. Plus, of course, millennials, dubbed the ‘foodie’ generation, know a lot about the pleasures of food.
So if you have a fashion fixation and love great food, elegant décor and an inspiring ambience, you will definitely want to visit two of the newest hotspots.
The Gucci Osteria
If you take a high-speed train from Milan, you can arrive in Florence in just under two hours. As well as being home to nearly a third of the world's art treasures, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region is where you’ll find the Gucci Osteria.
Based inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, the fine dining experience is part of the Gucci Garden, the revamped and renamed Gucci Museo. The museum space dedicated to the label, which opened in 2011 at the 14th century palace, now offers a truly unique take on the traditional museum. And now that you can enjoy a fantastic Italian meal and walk it off as you enjoy looking at the clothing, art, video installation, accessories and heirlooms organised in themes, there’s something for the fine dining lover, museum goer and fashion aficionado all in one.
The Gucci Garden is the brainchild of the brand’s superstar Creative Director known for shaking things up, Alessandro Michele. And to make dining at the Gucci Osteria unforgettable, he turned to none other than world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura, of the famous Modena-based Osteria Francescana.
Rather than offer the same delicacies as the restaurant featured in “Master of None”, the three-Michelin starred Bottura has created a special, exquisite menu for the intimate Gucci Osteria, which can seat 50 customers. Among the delicious Italian dishes, you will find Italian classics, like Parmigiano Reggiano tortellini, pork buns and mushroom risotto.
Green is a dominant colour and lines from a 15th-century Medici carnival song are written in gold script on the restaurant’s stone tablet-lined walls, according to “The Spaces.”
"The restaurant is a reminder that Florence has always been a centre of cultural exchange, particularly during the Renaissance," Bottura has said.
Other reasons to try out this new treasure is the neighbouring bazaar-like concept retail space that offers a series of one-off pieces created especially by Michele. The views overlooking the city’s most famous square, the Piazza della Signoria, also adds to its allure.
The Blue Box Café
If you’re a big fan of the all-time classic Audrey Hepburn movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” you’ll already know that yes, eating breakfast at the iconic jewellery store finally became a reality a few months ago. While we may never quite reach that goal of looking as chic as Holly Golightly as she stood in front of the windows, we can at least go in and have a coffee and a croissant inside.
Situated on the newly designed Home & Accessories (fourth) floor of the Tiffany & Co. New York flagship store on Fifth Avenue, The Blue Box Café is a jewel (pardon the pun) of a restaurant. Other than Golightly’s breakfast choice and other morning meal options, it’s a fantastic lunch or teatime spot. The restaurant serves high quality American classics, with freshness guaranteed as the ingredients are regionally sourced and the menu changes and evolves through the seasons. You will find a truly refined take on the city’s signature dishes “reinvented to be uniquely Tiffany.”
Some breakfast specialties, which come with a croissant and coffee or tea, include the Truffle Eggs, with soft eggs, shaved truffles, kunik cheese and smoked bacon, and the Smoked Salmon & Bagel Stack, with cream cheese smear, beefsteak tomato, red onion and capers. For lunch, one specialty to choose is The Charles Lewis Tiffany Club Sandwich, named after the jeweller’s founder. It comes with all-natural chicken, bibb lettuce and beefsteak tomato in rye bread. The Fifth Avenue Salad, with Maine lobster, avocado, grapefruit and poppy seed dressing, is another must-try. Then there’s teatime, which isn’t complete without trying the Tiffany’s Bird’s Nest. Another sweet treat for special occasions is the Blue Box Celebration Cake, a Tiffany box with glossy blue icing and noticeable, white confectionary bow.
The café is of course named after the Tiffany Blue jewellery boxes on most women’s wishlists. And just about everything in it is in Tiffany Blue, a colour so synonymous with the jeweller that it’s trademarked. Whether it’s the leather banquettes and chairs’ slip covers or the china plates, Krakoff originals from their “Color Block” collection, and salt and pepper shakers, the gorgeous, striking shade is all-pervading. The walls are also painted Tiffany blue or come in amazonite (nature’s Tiffany Blue). The café, which seats 40 guests and offers a beautiful view of Central Park, also has pops of Tiffany’s signature silver on the tabletops and marble accent wall. And instead of art on the walls, there are tiny Tiffany windows, with some displaying an array of Tiffany boxes.