Food The Tastemakers:

What Makes Your Eyes Swoon?

Photography by Jenna Saraco & Athena Calderone
Ralph Lauren Paint is available at Home Depot

There is no denying it: we live in a highly visual world. While aesthetics have always inspired art and the creative process, our social media-infused existence means we are constantly being stimulated. This is why we are all so addicted to Instagram, because we can curate our own story and gain a voyeuristic window into so many other lives. First and foremost, I am visual and I am not alone. The eye wanders and informs, and without a doubt our vision dictates inspiration. We see, we filter, we reinterpret in our own way, and we share. But sharing involves more than images, and our words matter too. We are all different and most creatives manage to have many different points of view, multi-faceted and varied. So, what makes your eyes swoon? In this highly visual existence we are so addicted to (yes, it is an addiction), how exactly do you put it into words? Or can you? Sometimes it is a tricky process…

Last week I was among a select group of creatives invited to a collaboration between Bon Appétit, Local Creative and Ralph Lauren Paint at the Bon Appétit test kitchen. The concept: look at food and styling through many lenses, all inspired by the fresh Ralph Lauren paint colors. The Perfect Palate!

I am guided by aesthetics in everything I do. I find beauty in the ever-changing spectrum of our food as the seasons change, just as I find elegance in the composition of food artfully displayed on a plate. The union of palette and palate fell right in line with what this swooner swoons!

I entered the test kitchen to see beautiful vignettes of seasonal nibbles, all scattered about according to their specific hue, and a coordinating color from the Ralph Lauren paint deck. A frenzy of women spanning various creative endeavors absorbed the scene through various lenses. Slices of potato and rosemary pizzetta were scattered with sage along side a paddleboard painted in the coordinating RL Hotel Du Cap. Mini Sweet potato and ginger carrot soup shooters were styled alongside stunning Fox Fodder Farm florals to complement another RL color, Istanbul. No detail was spared—even the Apple Habanero Margarita glasses were dipped with a black sea salt rim, paired along side a roasted black fig and arugula salad and displayed on a RL Black Watch Navy surface.  Autumn took center stage on the main kitchen island and mimicked the range of hues found in nature: oranges, yellows and reds spilled out everywhere, even our pear crostini was sprinkled with burnt yellow bee pollen that fell in line with everything from the RL Chamois paint chips to the breads to the blooms, and even to the serrated bread knives.

Everything was so beautifully curated, so picture perfect. Yet, we were encouraged to play with the food, the flowers, the herbs and the composition to capture the monochromatic displays as we saw fit. Let me tell you, it was all about how we see color…

Color is something we interact with every day: it surrounds us all the time, inspiring how we interpret the world. We are indeed very visual creatures, and as we sat down before a beautiful lunch, the table was highlighted yet again by color. Purples and cool blue florals artfully gathered by Fox Fodder Farm spilled out onto the table, and an organic conversation began to take shape as we tried to articulate how we see: what we love about color, how it inspires us, what palette we always turn to. How we curate our Instagram pages according to a certain hue or tone to remain consistent. How the season affects our creative vision, and how that fits into our creative expressions. Ultimately, the conversation led to what trends are overly saturated, what feels forced, what needs to go away and finally, what we want more of, be it color, composition or style.

It is not easy to describe what we see. We can all have the same linen, the same plate, the same light, but our compositions will ultimately be very different. Our eyes will frame the elements, capture the light surrounding them, create negative space or fill the frame in a unique way. I must say, the collaboration was a great launching pad for a larger conversation among some amazing creatives (spanning so many disciplines), and I was overjoyed to hear each and every person’s perspective. This is a new world we are navigating in our digital social existence, and yet community, conversation and creativity unite us all. Let us celebrate our differences in creativity, color, and composition while realizing that these concepts inspire us all, making every eye swoon.

Share this Swoon   –  

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