Here are some things I haven’t done for the past two months. Wear high heels. Choose a handbag because it works with certain clothes and transfer contents from another bag. Go to laundry. Think about what I will wear tomorrow. Switching from day-to-night display, except on days when I was still wearing morning sporting equipment at 6 pm – and even then, I never felt disturbed.
And here, on the other hand, there are a number of things that I have done: making a souffle for the first time. Through trial and error, nailing a failed béarnaise sauce. Cherry bowl pitted for clafoutis. Eat a salad made from rocket and radish leaves that I planted myself.
Making dinner is a new way of dressing in my locked life. Friday morning meant a visit to the kitchen for G&T, and then up for serious business trying eight different dresses before wearing the first one back. Now, my daily change means putting my hair into a ponytail so I can cook, and then go straight to the kitchen. Delivery that excites me is not from Net-a-Porter, they come from local butchers – and unfortunately, the price is almost as expensive. Instead of blisters on my feet from wearing my Prada sandals, I have a mark on my arm from being klutz with a paella pan. Seasonal droplets in stores that make me excited today? Asparagus and mango alphonso.
Not that I wear disgusting clothes, I must add. I still like nice summer dresses on a sunny day and I don’t go a day without earrings. But without the context of where you will go, what to do, and with whom, and what they will wear, and how you get there and where you might end up – without all that, dress a lot less spicy.
A simple meal of evening gowns and sandals makes me have the time and headroom I love cooking. My love for clothes and fashion is always far less about shopping than it is endless conversation in my own head, and that conversation is far less involved than usual. For example: I have trousers that I used to think of as “slightly better dog walking pants”. Now they are just “my pants”. So the time I spent thinking about clothes and dressing, now it’s all about recipes and cooking.
And that’s not just me. The fashion world has revolved en masse on food. Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus make a video for French Vogue explained how to make pizza. Michael Kors has been baking Pineapple Cake Inverted. (“There is a sensation when you turn the pan perfectly and find the bottom layer.”) Laura Kim, co-designer at Oscar de la Renta and Monse, shares her recipe for “elegant, yet complicated French dishes, called chou farci” – Stuffed cabbage that is worth Instagram. Gigi Hadid has taught his fans how to make a very not supermodel cheese macaroni dish with no less than three different types of cheese. Tan France and Emily Ratajkowski jointly organized a live Instagram tutorial on baking chocolate cake. Fashion photographer and writer who lives in Milan, Guest McPherson, has taken care of the appearance in the room by perfecting the fashion code in the room he calls “cute locking”, but also perfecting his pumpkin risotto. Singer Selena Gomez, cover girl of Vogue and campaign star Louis Vuitton and Coach, has signed up for a 10-part HBO cooking series about the power of quarantine kitchen skills.
There are delicious comedies that can be found in the conversion mode from canape trays to trays. “How do you chop garlic?” asked Hamish Bowles, editor in general for American Vogue, during a video tutorial with chef and food writer Skye McAlpine where he taught her to make cold almond soup, and salmon en papillote. Then, holding the garlic cloves, he asked: “Is this a clove or a bulb?” However, what Bowles lacks in culinary knowledge is how he compensates for a collection of vintage glassware that is worthy of the chateau, where I am against every reader Hamish at Home not faint.
But the driving force of a new fashion food obsession is the same change that has moved the needle in our entire lives. Our world has shrunk to fit in our homes. We try to look after each other, and food and love are mixed together. Our social life is now the people who live with us, and cooking a nice dinner is a way to turn another night into an event. I have started baking every Sunday because, at a time when I barely remember what day it was, lemon and tarragon roasted chicken made the house smell like Sunday. The fashion world, on the brand as usual, is a little extra on this front. If you miss the linguine fennel that you always order at Gucci Osteria in Florence, you can learn to make it at home, owned by Vogue. Or you can study by yourself Pickled cucumbers or to bake shrub panettone. Whatever you do, don’t make banana bread. That was last week, honey.