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Being Modern: Macarons


Is that an Alber Elbaz pink-bubblegum macaron you're eating? Ermahgerd! You are so last year. Lanvin in 2013? Please… this year it's all about Reed Krakoff's matte-black confections. Well, it was at New York Fashion Week, anyway. Come on, keep up!

Of course, they weren't just any macarons being fondled by the front-rowers. They were Ladurée macarons. The French tea salon is not the only macaron-maker – as anyone who has seen the disasters on The Great British Bake-Off will attest – and the pâtisserie itself has been making the double-deckers since the early 20th century. But it's the brand's catwalk-credible collaborations with designers from Louboutin to Galliano, Lacroix to Rykiel that have made it such haute property.

For those who are so off trend they've never set eyes on these rarefied beasts, it should be pointed out that, despite having a grounding in almonds, they bear little relation to the sort of sturdy British macaroon that can withstand the stamping of a horse's hoof. Far more delicate, this Parisian invention comprises a blob of crème surrounded by two airy meringue-like cookies, offering the lightest crunch on the outside and moistness in the middle.

Long available in coffee, chocolate, vanilla and raspberry flavours, it was in the mid-1980s that Pierre Hermé, the man who brought macarons to the masses (well, the comfortably well-off, anyway), added flavours from pistachio to mandarin to expand their appeal. (And match any outfit!)

Yet it is Ladurée – which expanded from a single bakery to a global chain in the mid-1990s – that has won over the fashion crowd, even launching its own cosmetics range last year, to add to its scented candles and home fragrances. Ah, diffusion lines: gotta love 'em!

Which is as well, because you know what fashion's like. It wasn't so long ago that cupcakes were the talk of Fashion Town – and, whispers suggest, marshmallows are even now splodging their way in to replace macarons at the shows…