After exhausting herself last year attaching nearly 400 handmade chocolate roses to a bustier, pastry chef Nicole Kaplan of the tony Eleven Madison Park restaurant decided to fashion an easier ensemble for this year’s sixth annual Chocolate Show at New York’s Manhattan Pavilion. With the help of a glue gun, she fastened hundreds of chocolate disks — dark, white and milk — to bathing suits designed by Liz Lange.
The bikinis made the way down a fashion show catwalk without melting thanks to two models — a rotund-bellied soon-to-be-mother and a 6-year-old girl. This was the third time that Kaplan, a former professional flutist whose passion is usually reserved for her restaurant’s patrons, donated her creations to the chocolate fashion show — an integral part of the annual chocolate show, a four-day festival of all things chocolate.
Her own newborn, Alex, played no small role in her turn to maternity wear. Kaplan’s son made his modeling debut at the show, dressed as a cocoa bean.
“This year we were really going for the humor factor by putting a bikini on a pregnant woman,” Kaplan said. “It was more reality than fantasy.” This year Kaplan, 34, reported more problems with melting than with the dresses she designed for the preceding two years. While other adults modeling chocolate creations — a Playboy bunny, mod 1960s hipster and a bride-to-be — were careful not to touch their outfits or sit down while wearing them, Kaplan’s child model kept touching her outfit, which by the end of the night somewhat resembled chocolate soup.
But Kaplan took it in stride. She’s far from being a dessert snob.
“I can appreciate all kinds of chocolate,” Kaplan said. “But my favorite are Ring Dings.”