Thanks to the boldness of modern couture, we’ve become somewhat inured to eccentric dress materials. Chocolate has been used to great effect at the Salon du Chocolat in France. At the 1995 Academy Awards, a gown fashioned from scores of American Express Gold Cards made quite the splash. Then there’s Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress, the image of which will continue to haunt many of us for years to come.

But while it’s one thing to see a dress fashioned from Ikea bags at a Parisian runway event, it’s quite another to find something so idiosyncratic at a tradeshow celebrating the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industries. Couture and quick service restaurants traditionally aren’t bedfellows.

That is, until the Swiss-based company the napkins® decided to exhibit at NRA Show 2015.

During the Show, you could find a dress being modeled that was fashioned entirely from single-use paper napkins.

You read rightpaper napkins. How is that possible? Well, unlike regular napkins, these napkins are spun-laced with a bit of synthetic fiber, which give them the look, feel and some of the strength of textile. And if that weren’t enough, they’re also recyclable.

Produced in Italy, the napkins products elevate the dining experience by providing a sophisticated design element to the table, one that can be customized for specific occasions. The company offers two lines, Deluxe, which comes in an array of 15 trendy colors, and the Kitchen, which offers a more rustic look in five bold hues. “We have something for everyone’s taste,” notes Leah Grass, Vice President – the napkins US.

Besides their design flexibility, these high-quality paper napkins have other benefits over traditional linen, not the least of which is their positive environmental impact.  “Standard linen service for a restaurant means tremendous amounts of washing with water,” says Grass.  “Which is something that’s rather scarce in the western U.S. right now.” Then there’s the fact that linen napkins tend to fray along the edges, fairly announcing their advanced age. “Would you rather put tired looking napkins on your table,” Grass continues, “or something that’s fresh and crisp and new every time?”

And that's how you combine fashion and function in the foodservice world.