Two of London’s most cult-followed restaurant brands reached peak cool on Friday night, in Paris. Michelin-starred Clerkenwell restaurant St. John and Hackney’s Noble Fine Liquor, the parent company for wine bars and restaurants, P. Franco, Bright, and Peg, were featured in the Paris catwalk show of Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe’s MAN Comme des Garçons spring/summer 2020 collection.
Models appeared in an adapted version of St. John’s staff uniform white workwear jackets (actual staff uniform features a grandad collar), with the anatomical pig insignia and Times New Roman “St. JOHN” logo beneath; they also wore tote bags carrying the same logo emblazoned on the side.
In a piece titled “what what your choice of restaurant merch says about you,” the Evening Standard said that those who paraded the St. John insignia, were “Thirtysomething Islington food junkies whose baby has already been to more Michelin-star [sic] restaurants in its blackout Bugaboo than you ever will.”
And while St. John has, for 25 years, been synonymous with art and fashion — it was the London hangout for the Young British Artists in the mid-1990s — Noble Fine Liquor is emblematic of a more modern, millennial restaurant subculture. The brand, which launched with a retail space on Hackney’s Broadway Market in 2012, was among the progenitors of the natural wine movement in London. When founder Liam Kelleher opened P. Franco on Lower Clapton Road in the spring of 2014, he and his team would go on to transform the notion of a wine bar as a restaurant in London. P. Franco, which invites a guest chef to cook on its three induction hobs between Thursday and Sunday for six months at a time, has been among the most interesting and avant-garde places to eat and drink in the capital over the last two-and-a-half years.
Eater understands that designer Watanabe has visited the Noble Fine Liquor shop on Broadway market a number of times and approached the owners with the suggestion of the collaboration. In the catwalk show on Friday, models teamed Noble Fine Liquor tee shirts with pale blue pinstripe deck trousers. It is thought there will also be a tote bag before all items — including the St. John merchandise — will be available to buy at the high fashion designer store, Dover Street Market (DSM) on Haymarket in central London and online, in January.
View this post on Instagram
St. JOHN in Paris: our catwalk debut, courtesy of @commedesgarcons @junyawatanabeofficial. Work jacket, tote bag, t-shirt (not shown). And that blue-jacketed, St. JOHN-tote-bag-slinging boy-next-door? The opening look, no less. Junya Watnabe Man Spring/Summer 2020 collection. A proud moment for a minimal, modest little runway piggy. . Photographs courtesy of @voguemagazine. . . . . . . #mensfashionweek #junyawatnabe #commedesgarcons #parisfashionweek #stjohn #stjohnrestaurant #fashioncollaborations #menswear #fergushenderson #parisrunway #nosetotail
A spokesperson for St. John told Eater this morning that the collaboration came about because Junya loves St. JOHN Bread and Wine particularly and he wanted to bring a St. JOHN capsule collection into his wider S/S2020 menswear collection.”
They added that it was “part of that season’s focus on ethical, individual philosophies and companies which plough their own furrow and are built to last. He wanted each item to ‘perfectly capture the atmosphere of St. John.’”
“St. John has always had an extremely strong relationship with the world of fashion and art, and Junya Watanabe shares so many St. John qualities — an emphasis on craftsmanship, skills, deceptive simplicity and longevity, with a strong heritage.”
Comme des Garçons was not the only brand to integrate restaurants into its campaign at this summer’s Paris Fashion Week: hyper norm-core brand Vetements, which is known for using iconic brand logos in its designs, staged its own catwalk show inside a Parisian McDonald’s.
The St. John and Noble Fine Liquor Comme des Garçons capsule collections will be sold by Junya Watanabe stockists, including DSM, not by St. John, nor Noble Fine Liquor.