At Stock & Barrel, how can we not be in love with people who see deep dish pizza and match it with a thrift store sweater in their head, or two people who could say the phrase “filet-o-fish blue” and not have to explain further?
Michelle Maguire and Kelsey McClellan are our kind of people.
The stylist and photographer—known collectively as Terrence Caviar—are always mining new possibilities in the world of styling, their imagination on display in their latest collaboration, Wardrobe Snacks.
This is food as art. As fashion. As a powerful agent of nostalgia. As an accessory to its author’s personality.
And we’re fascinated by it.
As a magazine tasked with coming up with new ways to unlock the imagination of the food world visually, we wanted to tip our caps to T. Caviar, and of course, sit down and chop up how something this lovely comes to be.
So, tell me where this idea started, you lovely weirdos?
MM: This series was inspired by diners lacking the luxury of being seated at a table: my stepdad who rests his sandwich on his thigh in between bites (hell with a plate!) while he blasts an action movie on his TV; a commuter cramped up on a crowded bus retrieving an item from a bag or pocket; a lunch-breaker on a park bench eating from her lap. They’re informal—perhaps even a bit awkward—spaces as far as eating is concerned, yet the diners always appear to be comfortable and perfectly satisfied with their chosen snack, almost Zen-like.
KM: We’ve been collaborating on another ongoing series, Pancakes is Ready, for a couple of years now. We talk on the phone pretty often about what we want to shoot together the next time we are in the same place, and before shooting Wardrobe Snacks we thought it would be fun to focus on food without using a table surface.
Did they all start the same way? Was the inspiration clothes first and then find some food to match, or other way around?
MM: Along with color, food is another thing that gets me excited, so for Wardrobe Snacks, once I had the clothing picked out, it was fun to think about an edible prop (both color-appropriate and easily eaten on-the-go or from your lap) to become the star of the show. Some of the foods shown (Sicilian-style pizza) are actually my favorite snacks, others (Zero bar) I slip in simply for nostalgic reasons.
Quick: match a food item with what each of you are wearing right now?
MM: A tangerine.
In many ways this is a tribute to branding—these classic colors that have been attributed to these products. Particularly that filet-o-fish blue. I remember that packaging, but some may not—yet it’s there, in our psyche. Even the specific pink color of the sugar wafers. Is this in examination of the way we associate food and color and product?
MM; Totally. When I was growing up, the quick fish was served inside a Styrofoam container that was this beautiful ’70s-prom tuxedo-blue. I deeply associate that color with the filet-o’-fish, and it’s the first thing that popped into my head when I found the blue suit at the thrift store. In an effort to modernize, McDonald’s got rid of that packaging years ago, so to incorporate that essential, recognizable blue, we wrapped the sandwich in tissue paper.
KM: I think when you link food to personal memories colors are strongly associated. I used to eat cereal every morning out of these plastic, blush pink bowls that my mom had, so that color still makes me think of breakfast.
I like that it’s also a tribute to this notion that “everybody snacks.” Paying homage to that one little thing you sneak into your daily diet—random or consistent, good for you or bad for you. Is that part of the inspiration?
MM: Aside from being such visually appealing props to slip into a composition, I associate food with pleasure. I’m also a big believer in taking breaks—to eat something that brings you joy and comfort, sit outside, get some air, listen to some birds, and re-charge. Stealing a moment to snack is a wise move—keep the bonks at bay.
KM: For sure—everyone snacks. Usually it isn’t dependent on what you are wearing but it’s sorta a fun exercise to pair foods with your clothes. All types of food can bring peace of mind at different times—like when you are starving on a long drive and all you can get is a bag of chips at a gas station, or when you are hustlin’ around town and just have time for the wafer you had in your purse.
Where did you get the clothes? Any local finds?
MM: Columbus is the land of terrific thrift stores and estate sales, so I’m always gathering stuff—objects, clothing, paper ephemera, carpet remnants, you name it—that I think will photograph well. If it’s got nice color, texture, or shape, it’s coming home with me. Styling combines my love of hunting and collecting and organizing and then thinking about ways of arranging those collected objects within a visual frame.
What were your favorite snacks as kids?
MM: After-school slices of salami at my grandma’s house, pepperoni rolls, pizzelles, apple juice.
KM: I had a phase in middle school where I ate a huge bowl (like 5 scoops, no joke) of Breyer’s chocolate ice cream with sliced banana and a can of sprite everyday as soon as I got home. I also ate a lot of clementines.
How about as adults?
MM: Cheese and crackers, anything pickled, olives, kettle chips, corn nuts.
KM: Chocolate — I have a problem.
I have to know: what’s the next project from you two? What else is left to explore on fringe world of food styling?
MM: We’re going to keep moving with Wardrobe Snacks, shooting a few more pieces this summer to round out the series while continuing to push its prints, and maybe eventually try to have a show somewhere. Would love to see them big! And a few commissions are happening that we’re excited about. •