Wearing everything from floor-sweeping gowns to short eye-catching dresses, models strutted down a Brussels catwalk in an array of unusual designs on Thursday night (February 9) — all adorned with chocolate.
The daily fashion show, which sees teams of chefs and designers working together to create chocolate outfits, is a highlight of the “Salon du Chocolat” chocolate fair in the Belgian capital, which this year is open to the public from February 10 to 12.
The sweet-toothed can see chocolatiers (chocolate makers) at work, and taste samples.
At the fair’s opening night on Thursday, specially-designed dresses were showcased under the theme “Back to the future”.
Different kinds of chocolate in all shapes and sizes adorned dresses or covered them generously. One short red frock had small balls of chocolate attached while another longer gown was decorated with chocolate leaves. Even accessories, such as hats or earrings, bore the sweet.
One designer, Belgian chocolate maker Nadia Flecha Guazo, drew inspiration from the Mayan deity Kukulkan to design a multi-chocolate dress.
“It’s a big layer of white chocolate with dark chocolate sculpted with bas-relief and coloured with blue iridescent powder. And there, we used black chocolate lace,” Flecha Guazo told Reuters Television.
Her model, Belgian sprinter Cynthia Bolingo, said it was like wearing any other dress – apart from the smell.
“The smell is strong because we can smell chocolate, so perhaps I might be tempted to eat my own earrings; otherwise the feeling is not really special. It’s more the smell that strikes me,” Bolingo said.
Also presenting a chocolate dress, fashion designer Gohar Gabrielyan said creating her dress was tricky and required hours of work.
“I think it was difficult because it’s the first time I work with chocolate. I had to think of everything so it doesn’t melt, so it’s light and not too bulky. It took me five weeks to make it because designing the dress involved a lot of calculations. There are a lot of details making the tailoring sensitive,” Gabrielyan said.
A 25-year old physiotherapist from Brussels, Maurine Lobet, attended the opening night to support her boyfriend, a chocolate maker who presented a dress at the show. She said she enjoyed the show.
“I think it was extraordinary. It was very colourful and original. It was also very cute with a ‘childhood’ look. It was nice,” Lobet said.
More than 80 chocolatiers are presenting their works at the fair, which also has versions in 31 other cities around the world.
This year marks the fourth Brussels edition of the ‘Salon du Chocolat’, which attracted over 30,000 visitors in 2016 and will take place this year over 8000 square metres.
With an annual production of 650,000 tons and a turnover of four billion euros in 2014, chocolate and praline production is a significant part of Belgium’s economy.
According to Eurostat, over 2.5 billions of tons of chocolate were eaten in the EU, Norway and Switzerland in 2014.