c.2013 New York Times News Service
c.2013 New York Times News Service
NEW YORK — Regarding the juicing craze that is sweeping through the fashion world, and everywhere else lately, let us look at things positively. For one thing, it is probably more common to see guests at the runway shows in New York this week sucking on a straw attached to some sort of green goop than smoking a cigarette.
Fasting fashionistas are up to their eyeballs in the stuff. The editors of Marie Claire have hired a truck to show up outside popular runway events and promote co-branded bottles from Juice Generation, a company that includes among its offerings something called a Kale Kolada.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America recently sent out Fashion Week discount cards to Organic Avenue, part of its health initiative for models. Cooler Cleanse, which includes Salma Hayek among its founders, is providing juices backstage at Carmen Marc Valvo, evidently at the insistence of Ted Gibson, the hair stylist. BluePrintCleanse started placing its products at runway shows five years ago and this weekend will be serving drinks at a Zappos-sponsored “recharge station” in front of Lincoln Center.
True, partnerships with such companies have been known to backfire, as when the fashion council received complaints in January that its association with a company known for its cleanse diets might be sending the wrong message. And you do get the sense that some people may be taking the juicing craze a bit too far.
“It has become normal practice for everyone to start juicing three days before show time,” said Roopal Patel, a fashion consultant. “That really messes up your system. The parties start and you go from green juice to Champagne in five minutes. You’re detoxing to retox.”
What’s worse, Patel has encountered editors who travel to the Milan and Paris shows with their juices, rather than dining out in cities that are hardly culinary wastelands.
But let’s not harsh on juice. Supposedly, it can be good for you. There are vitamins and such. When life gives you lemons ... you add some cayenne pepper.
Pat McGrath, the makeup artist, swears by Aloe Water from Juice Press, extolling its virtues in Vanity Fair. Jane Larkworthy, the beauty director of W, noted in a recent column that David Colbert, a Manhattan dermatologist, offers a Juice Generation drink that contains “free radical-fighting green tea,” which sounds as if it should be weaponized. Chris Constable, a fashion publicist at Starworks, pointed out that BluePrint’s Pineapple Apple Mint makes an excellent mixer with vodka. In fact, BluePrint (so skinny there’s no room for a space) endorses this practice and will be mixing cocktails at a party Sunday.
Still, juicing can be a ridiculously expensive habit, especially when you add on the solid-food options at some of the popular stores. Try making a square meal at Juice Press for less than $40. (What? You’re not supposed to eat three portions and a bag of Gladiator Cookies?) So now everyone is juicing at home and trading recipes between shows.
“I’m not a huge fan of just drinking your calories, but I live by my Magic Bullet,” said Lucy Danziger, the editor-in-chief of Self, who was speaking of an as-seen-on-TV blender that has done for smoothies what the Topsy Turvy has done for planting tomatoes.
Danziger and her husband, the gallerist James Danziger, have competitions to determine who can make the most delicious drink.
“I put in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sometimes kale, almonds, some ice — that is my energy secret in the morning,” she said. “James puts granola in his, but I think that it gets too soggy.”
Danziger, whose magazine includes nutrition and health advice, then brought up the elephant (don’t take that personally, you look fabulous just as you are) in the room. Some of these juices have more than 400 calories in a serving. She also cautioned against the pitfalls of many juice cleanses, or adding supplements like protein powder in greater amounts than your body actually needs.
“If you put too much into the blender, you put too much into your body,” she said. “You are going to juice your way into the next jeans size up.”
One of the selling points of the Magic Bullet and its cousins, including the NutriBullet, the Baby Bullet and the Party Bullet (for cocktails, this one includes a goblet attachment), is that they are exceptionally easy to clean. But what no one tells you is that making a tasty juice at home is not as easy as it looks, and there are important lessons here for Fashion Week, where everyone is obsessed with aesthetics.
Did you know, for example, that mixing kale with peaches and blueberries results in a drink that is a rather unpleasant shade of brown? Or that mustard greens are not ideal for liquid consumption? Or that a Magic Bullet is not, as it turns out, an effective way to use up the stockpile of vegetables that inevitably results from participating in a CSA?
Or that houseguests will start making special requests for freshly ground cinnamon, extra walnuts or ginger, and you will end up spending your entire weekend cleaning juice cups while everyone else starts complaining of stomach cramps because you threw in some beet greens? These things happen.
It can become an obsession. Suddenly you are turning up your nose at plain old Tropicana and going on a blender bender, or eating only in restaurants like Lafayette and Miss Lily’s that press their own juices. Some people have been known to spend $500 on a Vitamix, the Mercedes-Benz of the category, which also offers Vitamix-branded accessories, like a stainless-steel smoothie cup for $28.50 or a filtration bag for $14.95, so that everyone can recognize the higher status of their juiciness.
“Juice is expensive, but juicers are really messy and then you realize why juice is so expensive,” said Erin Flaherty, the beauty and health director of Marie Claire, who bought a professional-grade juicer that wound up taking up too much space in her kitchen. “You feed it so many fruits and vegetables and it never tastes as good.”
The Fashion Week juice truck was Flaherty’s idea. The runway shows have a weird history with beverages of choice, mostly a result of sponsorships by companies trying to make their drinks look more fashionable, from little bottles of Champagne that had built-in straws during the “Absolutely Fabulous” years, to different types of water pressed from coconuts or Evians or Fijis.
“Then one season, everybody was drinking Muscle Milk because Marc Jacobs said he was into it,” Flaherty said. “Now we’re all drinking juice.”
If you’re worried about the calories, she said, opt for green.
“The green ones are really good for you,” she said. “There’s nothing you can knock about them.”
Unless you spill one on your shirt.