It was hard to concentrate, with all that bacon.
Model Lilly Brown's bustier was strapped with more than a dozen of pieces of bacon, and I could smell it. As I asked questions about the pancakes hugging her ponytail and the waffle purse she was carrying, the conversation kept coming back to bacon. How long has that delicious bacon smell been following you around, I asked?
She had been getting dressed for nearly 12 hours. She arrived at The Original Pancake House in Uptown Dallas at 8 a.m. Wednesday, where a three-person team did her hair and makeup and dressed her as a walking breakfast plate. In West Dallas on this particular night, she was one of 15 women wearing food as art. She was also the winner.
This spirited event called Food in Fashion is part runway show, part food fest, part fundraiser. Its tagline described the event sumptuously: "Inventive. Irreverent. Extremely delicious. A little malicious."
If the event returns in 2019, foodies and fashionistas alike need to go — if only to guess which ingredients fashion designers will sew onto a gown next.
One model, representing La Madeleine French Bakery Cafe and designer Ivette Alvarez, wore heart-shaped Linzer cookies in her skirt and fruit tarts fastened to her choker. The next wore a cocktail dress covered in greens: green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage and the like. (After a fierce showing on stage, she left a few pieces of broccoli on the runway.) Most of the models were dressed as though they could walk at New York Fashion Week. But look closely, and one model's stunning shoulder embellishment was made from shells from a bowl of mussels at The Old Monk, a pub on Henderson Avenue.
Food in Fashion raised money for ProStart, the National Restaurant Association's culinary arts program in high schools, including some in Dallas. Several dozen high school students cooked for the Food in Fashion attendees, and ultimately, Moisés E. Molina High School students were honored for making the tastiest dish. Jose Chapa, 18, Natalie Ibarra, 18, and Ramon Aragonez, 19, all from Oak Cliff, were among the students who created and perfected their stuffed-shrimp wontons with sweet sesame sauce.
They deserved the credit; it was a restaurant-quality appetizer.
After the surprising and delightful runway show, attendees mingled with models, some asking to touch their edible ensembles. There was the olive necklace designed by Brittney Banks and sponsored by the Omni, and a crown of glitter-covered biscuits from designer Tatiana Diane and Golden Chick.
One of the most inventive looks was from mother-daughter designers Maria Luisa and Roxanna Santana for model Alexis King: a see-through two-piece — the teeny kind, one where you pray there's no wardrobe malfunction — filled with sliced fruit and aguas frescas, a drink sold on her sponsor's food truck, Nosh Box Eatery. The Santanas put LED lights behind each small, colorful bag of water and fruit to make them sparkle, and make-up designer Leslie Hernandez covered her hair in glitter as if she were a mermaid. (See it below.)
If designers could dream it, these models wore it. And it was quite a feast.