Fashion stylists have recently discovered the decorative potential of food. It’s true that Dutch still life painters discovered this 400 years ago, but everything is cyclical. Back then, excess was meant to be a commentary on mortality and a warning to the rich and powerful of the world that all is vanity (or, later on in 18th-century France, a sign that the revolution was nigh). Now, at least according to Ligaya Mishan in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, it’s intended to be “a metaphor for fashion itself and the great machinery of artifice that each fleeting season creates clothes and accessories to be exulted over, scrambled after and then pushed to the back of the closet to make way for the new.”
Okay, metaphors are great, but what about more practical concerns, like what happens to all that food and all the decorative plants once the shoot or the show is over? In a companion article, Marian Bull profiles several organizations that are donating, recycling, and upcycling leftover plants and food, giving them to schools, artists, community food pantries, and brewers. The New York City sanitation department has also tightened regulations and now requires organizers of events of more than 100 people to separate organic waste at the end of the night. Not all these solutions are cheap, but then again, neither are hundreds of tropical plants or baskets of fruit, either.