On the menu: fashion cafés

Fashion cafes are popping up all over the globe and demonstrating that this immersive way of experiencing luxury brands is the fashion trend du jour

A new trend in eateries is emerging, with the concept of fashion cafés becoming increasingly popular around the world.

The movement is already in full swing in that quintessential home of catwalk trends, Milan, where both Dolce & Gabbana's restaurant and Roberto Cavalli's café attract a style-concious clientele. Most recently, the animal print and fur hallmarks of celebrated international designer Roberto Cavalli travelled east through a franchise agreement with Lebanese hospitality specialist Pragma Group. The first flagship is set for launch in Beirut.

High-fashion magagazine Vogue is another international brand looking to take advantage of this niche market. It currently has plans to open Vogue Café, a trend-setting eatery, in Dubai next year. Aptly located in the largest shoe store in the world, the café  will serve chic classics such as eggs benedict, the Vogue twist on the club sandwich and health conscious salads. Plans are also in place for the launch of GQ bar in the emirate in 2013.

The Vogue Café in Dubai takes business inspiration from an earlier collaborative venture in Moscow and is part of a bigger plan that will see the fashion magazine opening branches around the world with an unmistakeable fashion statement.

“Vogue Café Dubai is our first step into the Middle East market and forms an integral part of Condé Nast International’s strategy to expand its celebrated media brands into restaurants and bars around the world,” says Stuart Nielsen, Director of Condé Nast Restaurants.

Another global city with a big appetite for fashion is Tokyo, where the iconic Ginza building has hosted a Gucci Cafe featuring luxury food since 2007. Like the fashion house, the café counterpart oozes style, elegance and quality and pulls off the ostentatious but understated balancing act with aplomb.

Likewise, China, with a booming economy and attendant demand for luxury goods, is every fashion marque’s dream. Here home-grown label Shanghai Tang is on top of the trend for fashion eateries. The Tang Cafe in the landmark entertainment complex Xintiandi elegantly portrays the brand’s take on contemporary Chinese chic. The ‘New Chinese Cuisine’ chef Jerome Leung dishes up foie gras with hawthorn jelly and roasted Mongolian lamb rack.

In each of these eponymous venues it’s not just the upholstery or the decorative items on the table that speak of the brand’s name, but everything from the music to the amuse-bouche. Fashion cafés ensure that they are the place to be seen, a factor that is more than likely the key to their success.