Cake in La Moda

Recently, we welcomed an esteemed visitor to our studio+bakery,  the Fashion Market Editor for New York Magazine’s The Cut and editor for New York Weddings, Lindsay Peoples Wagner.  Read on as we discuss the ins and outs of the fashion world and our fashion-inspired cakes!

What was your first foray into fashion?

Since I was young I was very interested in fashion.  I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and she took me to a senior citizens center every single day and we would sew, crochet and knit so I just really naturally fell into it that way.

I don’t think it was until I got to college that I thought I could make it into a career.  I watched “The Hills” and all those kinds of tv shows and you don’t think it’s actually a reality until you get into it and find your way.  I went to school for journalism and design and interned in fashion and that gave me the realization that I wanted to work for a magazine.  It opened the door to make me understand how I could make a career out of my love for fashion.

Why write about fashion, why not design yourself?

I just realized as far as designing that it wasn’t a strong enough passion.  I loved my draping classes and I loved designing and sketching but it wasn’t something that I was super passionate about as far as opening your own line.  The process was fun but it is much easier to get in to fashion by writing about it and styling and then maybe say, “I want to come out with a capsule line.”  Being a designer takes so much money and it isn’t something you can do without the right foundation.

That sounds like the same approach that Ron took when he was launching his baking career.  For many years, Ron was a professional dancer and it wasn’t until he reached an age when dancing was no longer possible that he had to examine what would make him happy day in and day out.  He had always had a passion for baking and had studied under the watchful eye of his mother, as well as trained professionally in the culinary arts.  It was a leap of faith for him to switch careers but he had the foundation you are speaking about.

What is it about fashion that you find inspirational?

I think it is inspirational to talk about fashion to real women.  It’s something we all participate in whether you care about designers or not, we all participate in it.  I think it is always interesting to have that conversation with women about that one thing they splurge on or that one thing they have always wanted to buy.  Or even something they wear all the time that they are obsessed with.  I find it inspirational to have conversations about what every day women are finding in fashion.  And it doesn’t have to be super expensive.  A lot of the trends that real women pick up on, they don’t realize it is something that came from the runways.  

We discuss that same concept here at the studio+bakery; how fashion has a far reach in all areas of design, not just clothing.  We are frequently drawing upon themes that we see in the environment around us, on the city streets, in the magazines and even in what our clients are wearing to inspire new cake designs.  

We call ourselves #ConfectionaryCouture which we have taken from the Parisian fashion houses back in the day when garments were made by hand for a specific client.  Today it seems like “couture” is a label that is stuck on anything so it gives the item a sense of luxury without being true to the real meaning of the word.  As an expert yourself, do you see any fashion elements jumping out at you from our cakes as you walk through our studio+bakery?

Absolutely, the cakes are super inspired by fashion.  A lot of the designs really speak to me as far as different trends that we have seen or different color palettes.  Even the intricacy on the cake you showed me that (your designer) was making looks like it could be a centerpiece in a runway show.  I think the detailing is what really feels so aligned with fashion.  I mean, these flowers look real, and even the marble is a certain detail that speaks more to the fashion.  As you were saying, if someone wants a simple plain cake they can get that here, but there is definitely layers to it and that’s what makes it so cool.

Are there any trends that you tend to gravitate to across different categories?  Maybe something you have been obsessed with in your closet that now you also want to incorporate in your home?

I go in phases.  I think for this past New York Weddings issue that just came out, we’ve done a lot of headpieces in the past, but I was really into finding ways for women to take that and make it not so editorial.  Like how could they take (headpieces) and incorporate it into their look and the overall aesthetic of the day.  I was really just interested in that because a lot of my friends who were getting married and a lot of women I talk to aren’t super interested in wearing a veil anymore.  They are just trying to bring in a little touch of something and it happened to almost always be a headpiece or (something) in that gold tone.  I saw that trickle down even to the food where they would use 24 karat gold dust.  That touch of elegance just helps to elevate.  I usually don’t gravitate towards gold things but for that issue I really loved it.

Which direction do you think weddings and wedding fashion inspiration are going to head in?

I think we are always trying to do something for brides who want an alternative, who want some ideas they aren’t seeing everywhere else.  I think that theme is super popular with brides right now and will probably grow to become even more popular. People are really looking for cool ways and new ways to do something.  Some people have just a white cake but others want the marble.  You have to give people options.  And I think that is what we are striving to do and I think more people are more comfortable just having their own weddings now and not the cookie cutter. 

Do you think that there has been a shift in people’s mindset, as we feel like we are seeing more and more clients wanting to create a distinct brand for themselves as a couple?

But I think that’s because of social media.  You have this hashtag, you have this certain look, you don’t want anybody to have this same wedding as you.  You can go down the rabbit hole following someone’s wedding and you want to emulate it but you definitely want it to be your own idea.  That extends to the cake; you don’t want to have the same cake as someone else.

What fashion trend or element would you like to see on a cake?

I would like to see more materials emulated on cakes.  I would love to see different kinds of materials.  Is that even possible?

Actually, we just did a spread for Martha Stewart Magazine where all the cake designs were inspired by different fashion fabrications (knit, leather, brocade, sequins, etc.) so you are right on target with that!  

Texture is cool and I think that’s going to be the new wave.  Flowers are beautiful and they are always going to be beautiful but I think texture is going to be the new (thing.)

You can follow Lindsay on Instagram  Twitter and on New York Magazine’s The Cut.

Photos by Hannah Soule for Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, Lead photo of Lindsay Peoples Wagner by Ben Ritter for The Cut.

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