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On the “choc”walk - Chocolate fashion on the catwalk

Getting in touch with the fashion world’s rebels and icons, Part I

Fashion Fairytales: When Her Royal Highness Fashion meets chocolate

Her Royal Highness Fashion adores chocolates, dark and white, with chilli or orange… And, of course, dresses and shows. Like the most powerful woman in the world of fashion and beauty, she should adore such things and she does.

“Instead of presenting your loved one with some store-bought chocolates, why don’t you make him some unexpected treats?”

“Yeah… Right… Why not!?”

“Chocolate is really quite simple to make at home.”

“Ok, but I don’t want to make a simple something. I want to make something special. Very special in fact.”

“So gather your ingredients, please.”

“Oh God, I have only 2 bars of dark and a bar of white chocolate and want to eat them without any gathering. Sylvain?!” (Sylvain Lauwerier received the Award de l’Excellence in the Salon du Chocolat in 2015)

“I am at your service, Your Majesty.”

“Do you know that even Marie-Antoinette had her own chocolatier?”

“Of course, Majesty!”

“Could you please help me???”

Her Majesty was sure that Salon du Chocolat was created especially for her. Or, for the inspired chocoholics like her. Or, for the fans of chocolate, maybe even much more foodies than designers. Anyway why not mix up art, fashion and pleasure for the taste buds? Sounds impossible, but such symphony exists.

“Whatever you want, Majesty!”

“When is your show by the way?? … In autumn, ok… From 28 October to 1 November, in Porte de Versailles. But I need the dress NOW!”

The first Salon du Chocolat (http://www.salon-du-chocolat.com/accueil.aspx) opened 22 years ago in Paris. It’s no wonder that the City of Light holds the title „Chocolate Capital of the World”, hosting over 300 chocolate shops – more than wherever it may be! The aim of Salon was to promote knowledge of and expertise in chocolate, from the bean to the bar, from industry leaders to chocolate lovers. Step by step, the idea is capturing hearts in other French cities (Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, Cannes, Lille, Nantes), in Europe (Bologna, Brussels, London, Zurich, Monaco, Cologne, Milan) and in other meaningful places of the world (New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Shanghai, Beijing, Cairo, Salvador da Bahia, Lima, Seoul and Beirut). Now Salon du Chocolat has around 15 events per year. Its French programme consists of the Pastry Show, the Cocoa Show, Chocosphere, Lessons in Immoderation and, probably the most spectacular, the Chocolate Fashion Show, which marks the opening of the whole event.

The idea of the show was to combine the talents of chocolatiers and fashion designers to create incredible chocolate outfits. How they are made remains trade secrets, but my very first thought when I saw these chocolate masterpieces was, “Oh, and all these treasures are edible… And the chocolate is just to dream about… Unbelievable…!”

French chocolatier Jeffrey Cagnes said his design – a chocolate corset covered in red and gold chocolate coins tied up with red ribbons – was inspired by ladybirds.

“The dress is all in chocolate; it is a true sweet,” he said.  “The difficulty with it is to keep it in place for a long time. It is hot in there. It lasts a short while and starts to melt.”

Why chocolate? Why not the caramel or some other sweet substance, which was created to please our taste sensors? Jeanne Louise Calment (1875 – 1997) was a French Methuselah with the longest confirmed human lifespan on record, living to the age of 122 years and 164 days. Calment explained her longevity and youthful look by a diet rich in olive oil (which she also used in her cosmetics), port wine and nearly one kilogram of chocolate every week. The French know some things about chocolate and gladly share them with us. Just be careful – these secrets are a bit caloric!