Food and fashion is not a particularly novel pairing. These days, in-store cafes and bars are common, and when Top Chef winner Ilan Hall opened his first New York restaurant last year he did it in an Urban Outfitters concept store.
Still, we’re having a hard time understanding why two Michelin star restaurant Noma—currently closed while it operates a pop-up restaurant in Tokyo—has temporarily given its Copenhagen location over to clothing and lifestyle brand Club Monaco.
According to Club Monaco’s blog: “Open Februrary [sic] 23 to March 13, #CMatNoma features the best of our women’s and men’s collections, curated vintage pieces, a selection of home goods, books from Strand Book Store, coffee & pastries by Koppi Kaffe and a wine bar by Ved Straden 10.” Said selection of home goods includes “handcrafted wooden yurts made in Brooklyn,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
We can understand René Redzepi wanting to offset his rental costs by subletting the space while it’s vacant. But of all the brands out there, this seems a strange choice. For starters, it’s a clothing company; and we’re pretty sure there are at least a couple of food, wine, coffee, or kitchenware brands out there that would have paid top dollar for the chance to open a concept store in Noma.
Club Monaco explained the pairing to the WSJ in the following, slightly unconvincing, words: “Clothing and food are fundamentals of life. There is something incredibly special about wearing designs that are well made or tasting something fresh from the earth that evokes the sensation of comfort and understated luxury.”
Photo: Alice Gao/ Club Monaco
While we don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment, with all the clothing companies out there, we’re still wondering why Redzepi would pick this one. No offense to Club Monaco, which has really nice clothes that we would totally wear to Noma if we ever managed to eat there, but even at its most aspirational it’s hardly the Noma of the fashion world.
We’re talking about a groundbreaking restaurant with an emphasis on wild and foraged ingredients that charges roughly $400 per person for a meal with wine pairings. Partnering with a more expensive or less corporate brand—a couture house or rising indie designer, say—might have seemed a little less odd. But then again, only slightly.
As it is, we’ll give props to Club Monaco for a huge branding win, and keep wondering perplexedly what Redzepi got out of this. We hope at the very least he negotiated a lifetime’s worth of chic wardrobe basics.