You’re Invited: Exclusive Amex UNSTAGED Fashion Event With Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week is officially in full swing, ladies and gents! If, like us, you’re not anywhere near the Lincoln Center this season but have furiously been catching up on the latest and greatest collections via, we’ve got some very exciting news for you. American Express has teamed up with the queen of the wrap dress herself, Diane von Furstenberg, on an exclusive, virtual front row experience of her Fall 2014 runway presentation – and you’re invited!

Live-streaming at and this Sunday, February 9 at 5pm, the #AmexUNSTAGED Fashion with DVF event promises pre-show, in-show and post-show features that will give us the front row view (no backseat this time!) from the comfort of our very fashionable couch. If that’s not already enough to get you marking your calendars and setting your cell phone reminders, the event will also be set against a live musical performance by indie pop musician St. Vincent, who will be debuting songs from her soon-to-be-released new album.

Excited for this latest #AmexUNSTAGED event? So are we! In fact, we’ll be live-tweeting the show along with blogger BFF Nelia of Style Blog (@styleblogca) and the lovely folks at Amex Canada (@AmexCanada), so be sure to join in on the conversation. During the live stream, us fashion fans will even have the opportunity to unlock an exclusive digital experience by tweeting with the hashtag #AmexUNSTAGED.

We can’t imagine anything that could be more important than this Amex x DVF event, but if you reeeally can’t make it to the Twitter party, don’t fret! The full length UNSTAGED event will be rebroadcast on for 24 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch up and tweet us your thoughts on the collection and the show.

And stay tuned for more from this year-long collaboration between American Express and DVF. It’s the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress, so there will be more exclusive fashion events for American Express Cardmembers and Diane von Furstenberg fans throughout 2014. In the meantime, can’t wait to tweet with you all this Sunday at 5pm! Be there or be square.

This post was sponsored by Amex Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely our own.


The Backseat Stylers’ CAFA 2014 Photo Diary

Sometimes events are so good, they deserve not one, but two posts, and the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards held this past weekend in Toronto is definitely one such occasion. Yesterday, we posted a recap of the evening with 70 red carpet style snaps. Today, I’ve got my own little photo diary with favourite moments from the gala.

It doesn’t capture that time I creepily told Yasmine Warsame that I loved her in the Fairmont Royal York elevator (but, seriously, I do), the excitement of chatting 24 with Kim Bauer herself a.k.a tablemate Elisha Cuthbert, or the sheer glee of having Atelier Swarovski jewels flown in from New York just for little old me. It also doesn’t quite capture how much pride I felt for George Antonopoulos, Sarah Stevenson and all the other CAFA winners and nominees. But it’ll have to do.

So much love and thanks to the wonderful folks at Atelier Swarovski for the invite and for the most glamourous jewels I could have dreamed up for my CAFA look. I felt like Cinderella, and the night wouldn’t have been the same without my fairy godmother Rory. CAFA 2014 was an important moment in Canadian fashion history and it was an incredible honour to have been in attendance.

Invitation in hand and gold Gucci shoes at the ready

Atelier Swarovski pieces flown in from New York by our fairy godmother Rory (clockwise from top left): SS14 in-house collection necklace/ring/bracelet set; SS14 in-house collection stacked cocktail rings; vintage Atelier Swarovski Dori Csengari necklace and cuff; vintage Atelier Swarovski Mary Katrantzou cuff

Yours truly with my tablemate Kim Bauer Elisha Cuthbert, both decked out in Atelier Swarovski

Clutch game: YSL and Falconwright

Vintage Atelier Swarovski Erickson Beamon cuff worn by Jane Hanrahan of Power of Prive

With the best date a girl could ask for, Nelia Belkova of Style Blog (and her insanely gorgeous Erdem gown!)

CAFA winners (clockwise from top left) Coco Rocha, George Antonopoulos, Sarah Stevenson, Dean and Dan Caten (DSquared2)

Repping VAWK with Stacey McKenzie (right) and with the designer himself Sunny Fong (left)

Obligatory photo booth session with Nelia of Style Blog and Marc of Toronto Is Fashion


P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! We’re fun. We swear.


Inside the Inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards: 70 Red Carpet Photos of Coco Rocha, DSquared2, Jeanne Beker and More

Model of the Year winner Coco Rocha with multiple award winners DSQUARED2′s Dean and Dan Caten

On Saturday, February 1, the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) were held at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, where a venerable who’s who of the Canadian fashion industry flocked to honour its brightest stars. The first of its kind in our fair nation, CAFA’s raison d’être is to recognize outstanding achievement and emerging talent in the fashion community, and this past weekend’s incredible awards gala was certainly a long time coming.

Emerging Talent Award winner Sarah Stevenson and Elisha Cuthbert

In between comedic interludes by master of ceremonies Gerry Dee and a musical performance by JRDN, the first ever CAFA winners were revealed at the highly-anticipated awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the immensely talented winners and nominees:

Womenswear Designer of the Year: 

  • Christie Smythe & Andrea Lenczner, SMYTHE
  • Denis Gagnon
  • Jeremy Laing – Winner
  • Kimberely Newport-Mimran, Pink Tartan
  • Kirk Pickersgill & Stephen Wong, Greta Constantine

Menswear Designer of The Year: 

  • Davidson Manaloto, wings + horns
  • Philippe Dubuc
  • Philip Sparks
  • Travis Taddeo – Winner
  • Shawn Hewson, Bustle

Outstanding Achievement: 

  • David Dixon
  • Dean & Dan Caten, DSQUARED2 – Winner
  • Denis Gagnon
  • Lida Baday
  • Marie Saint-Pierre

Accessory Designer of the Year nominee Jenny Bird and Stylist of the Year winner George Antonopoulos

Accessory Designer of The Year:  

  • Dexter & Byron Peart, WANT Les Essentials de la Vie – Winner
  • Ela & Martin Aldorsson, Ela Handbags
  • John Fluevog
  • Jenny Bird
  • Maryam Keyhani

Canadian Style Award: 

  • Coco Rocha
  • Joe Mimran – Winner
  • Lisa Tant

Image Maker of the Year:

  • Chris Nicholls – Winner
  • Stephanie Mark, Jake Rosenberg, The Coveteur
  • Gabor Jurina
  • Max Abadian
  • Tommy Ton

Vanguard Award honouree Jeanne Beker and Stacey McKenzie

International Designer of the Year: 

  • Dean & Dan Caten, DSQUARED2 – Winner
  • Erdem Moralioğlu
  • Jeremy Laing
  • Jason Wu
  • Mark Fast

Stylist of the Year:

  • Cary Tauben
  • George Antonopoulos – Winner
  • Liz Cabral
  • Peter Papapetrou
  • Susie Sheffman

Model of the Year: 

  • Coco Rocha – Winner
  • Daria Werbowy
  • Yasmin Warsame

Suzanne and Chloe Rogers

Emerging Talent Award: 

  • Beaufille
  • Eliza Faulkner
  • Laura Siegel
  • Martin Lim
  • Sarah Stevenson – Winner
  • Sid Neigum
Emerging Talent Award winner Sarah Stevenson, who also won the 2013 TFI New Labels competition, took home a $10,000 cash prize sponsored by Atelier Swarovski, an exclusive mentorship program with Joe Fresh, and a Spring/Summer 2015 look book produced by THE COLLECTIONS. The inimitable Jeanne Beker was also recognized with the Vanguard Award for her 27-year run as the host of Fashion Television, a strong influence on so many in the room that night and around the world, as well as her many other pursuits in the industry over the years.

Sylvia Mantella with Greta Constantine’s Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong

Canada’s top fashion talent was celebrated both on stage and off, and we were delighted to be surrounded by stunning red carpet ready creations by homegrown designers. With the likes of Coco Rocha, socialite Suzanne Rogers, sponsor Sylvia Mantella and model Stacey McKenzie leading the way in DSQUARED2, Erdem, Greta Constantine and VAWK respectively, the Canadian fashion set absolutely turned it out for the industry’s biggest night of the year.

Accessory Designer of the Year nominee Maryam Keyhani

Check out the gallery below for 70 – yes 70! – style snaps from the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. Congrats to all the 2014 CAFA winners and nominees, and to the CAFA team for an outstanding first year!

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Danier Design Challenge 2013 Winning Leather Jacket Unveiled – And We Want It!

Danier President & CEO Jeffrey Wortsman, winner Chantelle Hastick and model Monique Nelson

It’s official: we’re coveting the 2013 Danier Design Challenge winning leather jacket hard, and can’t wait to get our hands on it. Created by Ryerson School of Fashion student Chantelle Hastick, the edgy design was awarded the top prize of $5,000 last week after an intense competition that saw 66 sketches narrowed down to just one winning garment. Inspired by artist Ai Weiwei’s work Straight, Hastick’s thoughtfully designed and flawlessly constructed jacket will be produced by Danier and available in select stores this fall.

It’s exciting and I feel so overwhelmed.  It is really nice to see people admire your work.  I think it is amazing to have your design produced and sold by Danier Leather.  I’m excited to see where this opportunity takes me,” said Hastick.

Chantelle Hastick’s winning leather jacket design

Wesley Burness, Hamish Thwaites and Olivia Rubens took home second place, third place and an honourable mention respectively (all very well deserved!) in the multi-phase competition that had students sketching their own unique design, creating a marketing video, sewing a muslin, and then finally constructing their garment in leather.

Runner-up Wesley Burness (centre) with Jeffrey Wortsman and model in his design

The judging panel, which included Chair of Ryerson’s School of Fashion Robert Ott, Danier’s Chief Merchandising Officer Olga KoelFLARE’s Assistant Fashion News Editor Emily RamshawHello! Canada’s Fashion and Beauty Editor Julia Seidl, fashion stylist Alexis Honce, and our very own S, were tasked with narrowing down the field over the course of the competition and providing invaluable feedback during the construction stage.

Second runner-up Hamish Thwaites (centre) with Jeffrey Wortsman and model in his design

“Once again, I’m extremely impressed and excited by the level of talent that emerges from the Danier Design Challenge. In providing this year’s winner, Chantelle Hastick, with a paid internship at Danier, we hope to nurture her growth as a young designer and provide her with all the tools she needs to be successful in the industry,” said Danier CEO Jeffrey Wortsman.

Jeffrey Wortsman with model in honourable mention design by Olivia Rubens

Having been blown away by their talent and creativity over the last several months, we’re excited to see what Hastick and her fellow 3rd year design students do next. In the meantime, our eye is on the prize and we’ll be first in line when the winning jacket hits stores later this year.

S taking the winning design for a spin (Image credit: Robert Ott)

It was such an honour and a pleasure to serve on the judging panel of the 2013 Danier Design Challenge – what better souvenir of the experience than a new, uber-cool leather jacket?

Images courtesy of Danier


P&G and Christina Hendricks Celebrate Top Canadian Talent at Beauty & Grooming Awards 2013

Yours truly with Christina Hendricks and Glen Baxter

On December 2, P&G held its 5th annual P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards at The Carlu in Toronto, bringing together Canada’s top talent in the beauty, grooming and fashion industries. Hosted by Mad Men star and bonafide bombshell Christina Hendricks, the evening honoured the year’s best print and online content in 20 categories.

“I’ve always loved Canada, and I feel honoured to be a part of such an important event, highlighting the incredible talent in this country,” said Hendricks. “My work regularly exposes me to the stylists, editors, photographers and artists who work diligently behind the scenes, and I know how truly deserving they are of recognition.”

A bevy of bold-faced names assisted Hendricks in the doling out of the Tiffany & Co. crystal trophies, including fashion icon Jeanne Beker, TV journalist Glen Baxter, R&B singer (and ever charming) Jully Black, Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, and designer Jeremy Laing. And without further ado, here’s the complete list of winners from the 2013 edition of the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards:

1. Best Art Direction: Mark Reynolds, MONTECRISTO Magazine
2. Best Next Face – Presented by Olay: Dauphine McKee – Elmer Olsen Models
3. Best Beauty Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online – Trend or Profile (English): Olivia Stren, FASHION Magazine, Shear Force
4. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine, Newspaper or Online – Trend or Profile (French): Mélanie Frappa, ELLE Québec, Tendances phares: printemps-été 2013
5. Best Beauty Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online – Scientific or Technical (English): Ellen Himelfarb, FLARE, Tug of War
6. Best Beauty Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online – Scientific or Technical (French): Émilie Villeneuve, ELLE Québec, La beauté responsable
7. Best Beauty Editor of a Magazine: Vanessa Craft, ELLE Canada
8. Best Male Grooming Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online: Heidi Sopinka, FLARE, Clean Cut
9. Hair Stylist of the Year – Presented by Pantene: Nicolas Blanchet
10. Best Fashion Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online (English): Angela Murrills, NUVO, Stich by Stich
11. Best Fashion Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online (French): Andrée-Anne Léonard, ELLE Québec, Peut-on encore porter de la fourrure?
12. Best Fashion Editor of a Magazine: George Antonopoulos, FASHION Magazine
13. Best Male Fashion Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online (English): Patricia Gajo, NUVO, Down to Business
14. Best Male Fashion Feature, Magazine, Newspaper or Online (French): Jessica Dostie, Journal Métro, Des jeans dans le mile end
15. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English): Sharon Ng Hayes, The Backseat Stylers
16. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (French): Josiane Stratis, Ton Petit Look
17. Best Beauty or Fashion Website: Randi Bergman,
18. Photographer of the Year: Richard Bernardin
19. Make-up Artist of the Year – Presented by COVERGIRL: Blair Petty
20. Best Magazine Cover: Sylvain Blais, Dress to Kill (Spring 2013)

Congrats to all the winners! We’d like to briefly bring your attention to category #15, Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English), because WOOT WOOT that’s us!!! To be named a finalist alongside our amazing fellow bloggers Janine Falcon of beautygeeks and (our blogger BFF) Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes was already an incredible honour, but to pull off the win? We’re absolutely speechless. Thank you P&G, esteemed judges, lovely readers, and supporters of this here blog – we promise to strive for an even bigger and better Backseat Stylers in 2014!

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled program: le fashion. Check out the gallery below for 29 party snaps from the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards 2013, including lots of Canadian fashion representation with Jully Black in Pink Tartan, FLARE‘s Miranda Purves in Horses Atelier, and FASHION Magazine‘s Zeina Esmail in Lucian Matis.

Christina Hendricks with P&G Beauty and Grooming Awards 2013 winners

Jully Black

David Dixon, Suzanne Rogers and Glenn Dixon

Jeanne Beker

FASHION Magazine’s Zeina Esmail and Bernadette Morra

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Spotted from the Backseat: The Frocktail Party 2013 Edition

On November 28, The Frocktail Party returned to the Arcadian Loft for an evening of fashion and philanthropy in support of The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Easily one of our favourite events of the year, Frocktail Party’s main attraction is an incredible silent auction featuring highly covetable dresses (obviously), accessories, menswear and luxury experiences from top designers, retailers and brands from across the country. It’s heaven to silent auction addicts, which we totally confess to being.

This year’s donors included Hudson’s Bay, Zac Posen, Intermix, eLuxe, Danier, Greta Constantine, LINE Knitwear, Diane von Furstenberg, and Pink Tartan, among many others. In addition, many donated gowns also came straight from the closets of bold-faced names like Rachel McAdams, Nelly Furtado, Cheryl Hickey, Tanya Kim, Cynthia Loyst, Ben Mulroney, Jessica Mulroney, Suzanna Rogers and Jenna Bitove. A chance at snagging a piece from Mrs. Rogers’ closet at a fraction of the cost, and for a very worthy cause? Definitely a win-win.

Partygoers donned their very best frocks for the occasion, and we’re disappointed some of those dresses weren’t up for grabs in the silent auction too – we’re looking at you, Ms. Bitove. There’s always next year, right? Check out the gallery below for 27 style snaps from Frocktail Party 2013. And to find out more about JDRF, click on over here.

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10 Can’t-Miss Vendors at the One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale Toronto 2013

Haven’t you heard? The One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale is back in town, fellow Torontonians, and with 800 artisans offering thousands of unique stocking stuffer and gift ideas for everyone on your list, it’s the perfect place to kick off your holiday shopping. That’s exactly what we Backseat Stylers did this past weekend, spending a delightful afternoon strolling aisle upon aisle of Canadian-made fashion, art, housewares and even food.

Planning a trip yourself this week? Because we know #OOAKSX13 in all its glory can be a bit overwhelming to a first-timer (and even the seasoned shopper!), we’ve gone ahead and rounded up 10 of our favourite vendors (including their mini bios) to help you hone in on the must-visit booths:

Biko (Toronto) - Biko is a ‘modern nostalgic’ jewellery brand. Each piece is hand-crafted in Toronto, with love by designer Corrine Anestopoulos. Born in 2004, Biko draws inspiration from memories of the past and translates such ideas into wearable, contemporary silhouettes. Biko marries vintage inspiration with metals, charms and natural stones to create versatile pieces that tell a story.

iDENTITY (Vancouver) - Identity is a brand based on the ideals of the Canadian identity. It begs the questions- who are Canadians and what does it mean to be Canadian? Identity takes a sophisticated, yet amusing approach on iconic Canadian images, producing a fresh and stylish product. Images are clean, modern and fun.

LOVEFRESH (Toronto) - Lovefresh is a yummy line of natural body goodies that are fun, effective and packaged with style. Every recipe is formulated with the best ingredients from local and global sources, including layered notes of beautiful, fresh-smelling scents.

CcommeÇa (Montreal) - Ccommeça is a concept born from the desire to combine design, ecology and everyday living. Designer Cindy Cantin has made felt, a material used extensively by our ancestors, her material of choice. Cindy combines felt, recycled leather and other diverse materials into clean streamlined designs. Playing with the modern as well as the traditional, she has developed a unique, timeless style; simplicity married with classical, or sometimes even vintage.

Skinny Sweats (Toronto) – Designer Adrienne Butikofer started in 2012 with the basic skinny cut sweat pant and has since evolved to include other Lazy, Sexy, and Cool styles. Adrienne has been an indie designer in Toronto for almost 10 years, and in addition to the Skinny Sweats line, Adrienne also creates one off tops and dresses that play on contradictions. Her strength is in designing understated statement pieces with a vintage modern feel.

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Spotted from the Backseat: CANFAR’s Bloor Street Entertains 2013 Edition

Joe Mimran and Kimberley Newport-Mimran

On November 27, Toronto’s Mink Mile played host to CANFAR‘s annual Bloor Street Entertains fundraising gala. In its 17th year, the event drew the city’s most influential – and fashionable – to the Royal Ontario Museum for a glamourous pre-party and to various boutiques and galleries in the Bloor-Yorkville area for elegant dining experiences on the eve of World AIDS Day.

The only thing more fabulous than shopping in luxurious boutiques like Burberry, Cartier, Holt Renfrew, Mulberry, and Tiffany & Co. is having a private seated dinner inside them, and that’s exactly what Bloor Street Entertains is all about. The likes of style icon Jeanne Beker, Hudson’s Bay Company vice-chair Bonnie Brooks, and fashion powerhouse couple Joe Mimran and Kimberly Newport-Mimran were spotted among the CANFAR supporters in their Wednesday best.

Check out the gallery below for  21 gala style snaps featuring Toronto fashion scene favourites Suzanne Rogers, Sylvia Mantella, Jay Strut and more from #BSE13.

Jeanne Beker and Bonnie Brooks

Suzanne Rogers and Sylvia Mantella

Jenna Bitove Naumovich

Jay Strut and Lina Policaro

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Spotted from the Backseat: Canadian Fabric Presents Le Grand Bal

Sylvia Mantella, Suzanne Rogers and Brittney Kuczynski

On November 19, Toronto’s social set descended on the Royal Ontario Museum for Le Grand Bal, a black tie gala to celebrate the launch of a new Canadian cultural yearbook, Canadian Fabric, and in support of a very worthy cause, Oolagen. In its inaugural year, the event was as fabulous as one would imagine with honorary chair Suzanne Rogers, chair Sylvia Mantella and editor-in-chief Brittney Kuczynski at the helm.

The evening fêted the very first issue of Canadian Fabric, an annual publication celebrating what makes us fashionably Canadian, and the 6 philanthropists profiled in it, including Peter Gilgan, founder of Mattamy Homes; Lynn Factor, Vice Chair and Lead Director of the Children’s Aid Foundation; Cheryl McEwen, co-Founder of McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine; Lisa Ray, actress and host of ’Top Chef Canada’; P.K. Subban, defenseman with the Montreal Canadians; and Sylvia Mantella, Director of Brand Development of Mantella Corporation. To underscore the focus on philanthropy, guests were introduced to Oolagan, a youth mental health centre in Toronto to which net proceeds from the event and sale of the magazine (available at Chapters/Indigo) will be donated.

Philanthropy was on the agenda, but fashion certainly didn’t take a back seat. We spied stunning designs by Canadian talent like Erdem, Greta Constantine and Lucian Matis on the fabulous partygoers. Check out the gallery below for style snaps of uber-chic guests in gorgeous gown after gorgeous gown.

Zoomer Magazine’s Suzanne Boyd

Singer Ivana Santilli

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Spotted From the Backseat: Toronto Life’s Most Influential Party 2013

Ivana Santilli and Stacey McKenzie

On November 7, Toronto Life unveiled its 2nd annual list of Toronto’s 50 most influential people at a fête at The Ritz-Carlton. Influencers and influencees (yours truly obviously being in the latter bucket) gathered to celebrate the likes of rapper Drake (who to our dismay did not attend), real life gossip gal and co-host of The Social Elaine Lui, and up-and-coming power player Jenna Bitove Naumovich.

Partygoers wore their influence on their sleeves, literally, arriving at the event in style. Model Stacey McKenzie donned a stunning VAWK runway number, HBC’s Bonnie Brooks sported an ultra-glam gold trench, and Zoomer‘s Suzanne Boyd rocked a chic tuxedo look. Check out the gallery below for more style snaps of Toronto’s most influential.

Bonnie Brooks

Stephanie DeGasperis, Jenna Bitove Naumovich and Charlotte Positano

Suzanne Boyd

Minna Rhee

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