It's a trend that's a little deeper than Lady Gaga wearing a meat beret: Barneys New York will flaunt food as fashion this holiday in its New York windows.
In a partnership with the Food Network, Cooking Channel and Illycaffe, Barneys says the windows will be themed "Have a Foodie Holiday," with an unveiling scheduled for Nov. 16, which it will promote with national print and online advertising.
Tableaus will celebrate the foodie pantheon, including a Bad Boys window (everyone from Mario Batali and Bobby Flay to Jean-Georges Vongerichten), A Revolutionary Stew, which will include trailblazers like Julia Child and Jamie Oliver, and the Gals, with such chic luminaries as Lidia Bastianich, Sylvia Weinstock, Rachael Ray and Paula Deen.
The trendwatchers at Iconoculture say it's just one more example of how "the cultural power of food is on the rise," with a special appeal for Gen X shoppers. "Chefs have become tastemakers in so many ways, from gentrifying urban neighborhoods with their restaurants to inspiring the fashion world with their bravura."
The Minneapolis-based marketing company lauds the partnership as "a cross-category mash-up made in heaven, with Barneys getting to meet some of the Food Network's 100 million-plus viewers, and the Food Network gaining a little glamour by association."
Barneys says its stores in such markets as Beverly Hills, Chicago and Boston will also join in the Foodie Holiday, with giant wreaths and garlands made from vintage cookware, Illycaffe imagery (the sleek coffee products are being promoted heavily as gifts), as well as portraits and references to local celebrity chefs. Its holiday catalog will feature food-related photography.
Barney's performance this holiday season will be critical. While all retailers are under pressure to deliver strong fourth-quarter sales, Barneys -- owned since 2007 by Dubai investment fund Istithmar World Capital -- has been reported to be on the verge of losing $60 million this year.
As a tie-in, Simon Doonan, Barneys' creative director, is scheduled to be a guest judge on a holiday-themed episode of Food Network's "Iron Chef." And the Food Network will promote the campaign with behind-the-scenes video of "Making of Foodie Holiday Windows" at foodnetwork.com.
The Barneys event will also include the sale of paintings of chefs by students at the East Harlem School, with proceeds benefiting the school, as well as a tie-in with the Food Bank of New York City.