Food + Fashion Becoming One

As far as retail trends go, we can’t think of one much more customer-centric than that of the burgeoning tendency to pair shopping with dining. From New York’s Armani Ristorante inside the Armani flagship store, to the Dubai Mall’s Vogue Café in the infamous Level Shoes and the new Champeaux inside the revamped Forum des Halles shopping centre in Paris; fine eateries are popping up in some of the world’s best boutiques.

NYC is fast becoming the capital for household designer names to include eponymous restaurants, combining the delights of food and fashion under the same, well-loved brands. Ralph Lauren’s causally chic Polo Bar is the label’s latest addition to their trio of dining establishments – the Manhattan address joins their Chicago RL Restaurant and Ralph’s in Paris. Interiors are inspired by their signature sporting style and equestrian heritage, with even the team in flannel trousers, silk repp ties and leather wingtips. On the menu are American classics with beef from Ralph’s own Colorado ranch and coffee from his famous special blend.

It’s Armani though, who is perhaps paving the way in combining a luxe approach to hospitality. Whilst their hotels from Milan to Dubai contain some of the cities most coveted dining destinations (Milan holds a Michelin Star), the newer  Armani Ristorante in New York is nestled inside their Fifth Avenue store. The design is something to behold, with its dramatic architectural entrance and glistening lights encased in glass high above the street. Among its further triumphs are chef Sandro Romano’s seafood menu and a critically acclaimed wine list.

Moving across the globe, if there’s one town dedicated to all that’s new and unique in retail concepts, it has to be Dubai. Of course, the glistening city boasts some of the best restaurants, but for a simply chic lunch break during a marathon shopping trip, the Vogue Café, set in the middle of Level Shoe District on the Dubai Mall is a must. A stone’s throw from the red soles and designer collaborations found no-where else in the world, one can enjoy perfectly presented drinks and light meals in the fabulously designed surroundings. Check out our article on Level Shoes here (http://oliviapalermo.com/spotlight-shoe-level-dubai-slb-2/).

Dubai’s Vogue Café is part of Conde Nast’s growing portfolio, that also includes the Vogue Lounge in Bangkok’s exclusive MahaNakhon CUBE, the retail and restaurant hub in the Thai capital’s tallest building.

In Paris, the newly renovated Forum des Halles mall is home to renowned chef Alain Ducasse’s Champeaux – a spacious site designed by Ciguë, an architecture agency that also has collaborations with the likes of Damir Doma and Isabel Marant under its belt. On the menu are French classics with a health conscious twist, a mix that has seen Ducasse awarded three Michelin Stars in the last year. The mall also boasts Za, a hip bistro designed by Philippe Starck.

If you happen to find yourself in London, make sure to stop by Thomas’s Cafe located within the impressive Burberry store on Regent Street right off the center of Piccadilly Circus. Here in it’s modern chic yet comfortable setting you can sink into a seat and order up a yummy breakfast of oatmeal porridge with spiced plum compote or scotch buttermilk pancakes with honeycomb or indulge in a lunch meeting with lobster and chips or (of course) afternoon tea.

As retailers recognise the importance of a lifestyle offer in some of the world’s fashion capitals, stores turn in to destinations, increasing dwell time and introducing space to mull over those all-important purchasing decisions. By combining  top chefs and exquisite design, the experience is all-together richer, with patrons enjoying next-level customer service in the familiar surrounding of their favourite brands and boutiques.

 

About the Author

Based just outside London, Sarah-Leigh Bunting is a seasoned editor and marketer, having worked with some of the world's biggest fashion and interior brands and retailers. In 2012 Sarah-Leigh co-founded What Peggy Did Next (http://www.whatpeggydidnext.co.uk/), an event and communications agency based in the UK. You can follow Sarah on... Instagram - @sarah_leigh_b Twitter - sarah_leigh_b Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SarahLeighsStyleFiles/