Spotted from the Backseat: J.Crew Collection’s Toronto Store Launch

Afiya Francisco

Confession: we’re totally obsessed with J.Crew, especially all things J.Crew Collection. So when an invite arrived for the opening of the very first Collection store in Canada, on Bloor Street in Toronto no less, we were stoked. The promise of a Ms. Jenna Lyons in attendance too? We were officially beside ourselves.

Sadly, though we donned our Collection best for the occasion, our date with J.Crew’s creative director was not to be. Stuck in New York thanks to an epic snowstorm, Ms. Lyons sent a few looks fresh off the Fall 2014 runway in her place. Those, plus some good old Canadian-themed photo booth fun and almost 6,500 square feet of the statement necklaces and No. 2 pencil skirts we love so much, did a fantastic job of making up for our style icon’s absence.

Check out the gallery below for style snaps of Toronto’s fashion set in their favourite J.Crew duds. Nowhere near the new store? We’ll race you over to

Aya McMillan

Fiona Green

Ainsley Kerr

Yours truly

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Spotted from the Backseat: Canada’s National Ballet School’s Casablanca Gala 2014 Edition

On February 7, Canada’s National Ballet School held Casablanca Gala, a glamourous, 1940s-inspired fundraiser at The Carlu in Toronto. Co-chaired by Juanita Montalvo and Stephen Delaney, the event aimed to raise $850,000 towards providing financial assistance to NBS’s Professional Ballet Program students. The School’s biggest supporters gathered for an evening featuring a Moroccan dinner, a casino with live entertainment, and, of course, a ballet performance by the students.

Encouraged to channel their inner Humphrey Bogarts and Ingrid Bergmans, some guests fully embraced the 1940′s theme sartorially, while others simply chose to don their black tie best. Either way, Casablanca Gala drew one very fabulous looking crowd. Check out the gallery below for 26 style snaps, including Ainsley Kerr and Kim Johnson, both in dazzling embellished gowns.

Missed the gala, but would like to donate to Canada’s National Ballet School? Click on over here.

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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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Spotted from the Backseat: Toronto Life’s Most Stylish Party 2013 Edition

Amy Burstyn Fritz and Graham Smith

On September 5, Toronto Life hosted its annual Toronto’s Most Stylish bash at the Shangri-La Hotel, fêting those fashionable folks who had been declared by the Stylebook as the city’s most sartorially-gifted this year. Listed or not, over 500 of Toronto’s social set arrived in their Thursday best, showing exactly why they’d earned their Most Stylish title or making a strong case for a nod next year.

Among those who got the hat tip were designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan, fashion directors Liz Cabral and Susie Sheffman, bloggers Bianca Venerayan and Danielle Roche of Kastor & Pollux (frequently seen in The Canadian Street Style Lookbook!), and accessories designer Jenny Bird. Given the regularity with which these fabulous women are featured on this here blog, we wholeheartedly agree that they’re very much well-deserved on all counts.

Check out the gallery below for 33 photos of tastemakers, partygoers, and Most Stylish contenders past, present and future from Toronto Life‘s soirée.

Ainsley Kerr

Emily Hampshire

Danielle Roche and Bianca Venerayan

Amanda Brugel

S with Hawley Dunbar and Nelia Belkova

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Our 10 Favourite Looks of 2012!

Krystal Koo and Suzanne Rogers at Rodarte event at The Room at The Bay

Some of my nerdiest (and more awkward) moments as a fashion blogger are those times when I’m full out freaking out about someone else’s outfit, oftentimes a chic stranger. “It’s that Mary Katrantzou dress!”, I’ll hiss to T, to the Mister (who could care less), or to no one in particular. I’ll then do that little jig where I’m pretending to be engrossed in the hors d’oeuvres spread or silent auction offerings but am really tracking said person’s movements, waiting for that opening in between bites of food or inside jokes to go in for the shot.

I always try to be polite to the individuals in the incredible ensembles, and respectful of other photographers and bloggers also trying to get the shot. Over the last 3+ years, I’ve been turned away by a would-be street style subject exactly once. Other times, I would have preferred a refusal over the scowl I saw through my camera lens; although, to be fair, this is also a rare occurrence. Most everyone I ask for a photo responds kindly and generously.

There was that time one bold face name vouched for me to another bold face name: “It’s OK – she’s cool.” The Toronto socialite stamp of approval! I was, quite honestly, delighted to be considered safe to pose for by the city’s social set. There was also that time one of Toronto’s most prolific event photographers waited very patiently for several minutes as I tried desperately to get my camera to co-operate and snap his picture. His empathy and assurance that this sort of thing happens to him too made the incident just a little less humiliating for me.

To Suzanne, Krystal, Liz, Faith, Monica, Amy, Glenna, Megan, Alesia, Ainsley, and everyone else who indulged me and my camera this year, thank you from the bottom of my fashion-obsessed heart. I can’t wait to do it all over again in 2013!

Liz Cabral at Power Ball

Monica Mei at Operanation

Alesia at Prom at the ROM

Megan Loach at Prom at the ROM

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Spotted from the Backseat: The Frocktail Party 2012 Edition

On November 14, over 600 guests attended Frocktail Party 2012 in Toronto in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Many of the city’s most fashionable flocked to the Arcadian Loft for an evening of silent auctions featuring designer dresses and accessories generously donated by celebrities like socialite Suzanne Rogers and supermodel Monika Schnarre, talented Canadian designers including Greta Constantine, ela, and Jeremy Laing, and retailers like eLUXE and The Bay.

This 4th annual event achieved a record-breaking auction this year, raising $30,000 for a total of over $55,000 for the evening. As a shopaholic who quite enjoys the thrill of a good silent auction, I quite happily contributed to that total. At the end of the night, I returned home the victor of two battles, having successfully snagged a pair of Greta Constantine x ALDO Shoes ankle booties from the Fall 2011 runway for me and a one-year men’s spa membership to John Allan’s for the Mister. All in the name of charity, of course.

I did, however, leave an absolutely to-die-for tree-print jersey dress by Alexander McQueen behind, which I’m still in mourning over. Other incredible pieces up for auction included a Proenza Schouler clutch donated by INTERMIX, a Smythe jacket courtesy of eLUXE, and runway frocks by Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta and Mary Katrantzou, straight from the closet of Suzanne Rogers. She herself donned a lovely violet-hued number for the occasion, as did a stunning Ainsley Kerr, who wore a beautiful fringed gown. Socialite Jenna Naumovich also showed her support for the JDRF’s cause, arriving in a gorgeous Peter Pilotto runway dress.

With incredible frocks on Frocktail Party’s guests and enticing pieces up for auction, it’s a miracle I didn’t come out of the silent auction shenanigans with more damage to the pocketbook than I did. Come next year, though, I’ll be more than ready for the bidding wars for the latest from Ms. Rogers’ unbelievable wardrobe.

That McQueen tree-print dress (right) I really, really wanted to win

Suzanne Rogers

Jenna Naumovich

My spoils of war

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: AGO Massive Party 2012 Edition

On April 19, the Art Gallery of Ontario threw the 2012 edition of Massive Party, the gallery’s annual fundraiser. Co-chaired by Hughene Acheson and Laura Adams, a crowd of close to 1,800 guests enjoyed food, drink, music and innovative, custom-designed art installations exploring the future of art, as conceived by the event’s artistic director, Bruno Billio.

Without a strong, overarching theme like last year’s Marchesa Luisa Casati, attendees were dressed in whatever suited their fancy. Sartorial standouts included Ainsley Kerr in Lundstrom Fall 2012 and Biko Beauttah in the instantly recognizable Pippa dress, both of whom upped the glam factor of Massive Party 2012 and made my job that much easier to do.

Ainsley Kerr in Lundstrom Fall 2012

Biko Beauttah

Me in Giles Deacon dress / Alexander Wang shoes / Chanel bag

xx, S


7 For All Mankind Boutique Launches at Yorkdale in Toronto

New stores have been opening left and right this past month, and this week T and I attended the launch of yet another. This time, it was in honour of Toronto’s first 7 For All Mankind boutique in Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The event was hosted by Canadian-Somali model Yasmine Warsame, who partnered with 7FAM to donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds and full proceeds from the silent auction to The African Future, a charitable organization delivering food and medical services to the victims of drought in Somalia.

It was a packed house, with guests crammed into every corner of the store, sipping champagne while they shopped for denim. We managed to miss Yasmine Warsame, who I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the Heart of Fashion charity event, but made up for it with a chat with MTV Canada personality and life of the party Sheena Snively. T had a complete fangirl moment.

As for me, I had jeans on the brain. Flared jeans, to be exact. I’ll be back to pick up a pair, 7FAM!

T and MTV Canada personality Sheena Snively

T, me, Élana Camille, Nelia Belkova, Lisa Chen, Chenessa Lam

DJ Vaneska

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J.Crew Celebrates First Canadian Store at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto

When J.Crew announced plans to expand into Canada last Fall, fans across the country rejoiced. Finally, we’d be able to get our hands on as many cashmere cardigans, Breton striped shirts and smart blazers as we could possibly cram into our closets, without having to make the trek south of the border. After months of waiting, the first Canadian J.Crew store opened last week at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto to much fanfare.

J.Crew’s President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons and Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler hosted a private cocktail party on the eve of the grand opening of the new store. Amidst a carefully curated collection of chic tweeds and frilly prints, the city’s fashion set celebrated with plenty of food, drink and good old fashioned shopping. The store’s entire stock of orange pants was sold out that first night, I’m certain, but I’m happy to report that there will be plenty more where those came from now that J.Crew has finally set up shop in Canada!

Bloggers Marta Tryshak, Nelia Belkova, Kimberly Lyn and me

Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director of J. Crew

April Jackson (left) and Ainsley Kerr

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“When Tommy Met Anna”: Tommy Ton & Anna Dello Russo Feted at The Room at the Bay in Toronto

Me and Vogue Nippon Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo

The Room at the Bay announced recently that they would be hosting “When Tommy Met Anna”, an exhibit of photographs of Vogue Nippon Editor-at-Large and street style heroine Anna Dello Russo by Toronto-based, world-renowned street style photographer Tommy Ton. When the news first broke, the first question on mine and most other lips in the city was, “Does that mean ADR is coming to Toronto?!” When confirmation came via a tweet from The Hudson’s Bay Company that, indeed, the inimitable Dello Russo would be gracing our city with her perennially overdressed presence, the excitement in the Toronto fashion community’s little corner of the Twitterverse was palpable. Not only was ADR coming to town, but she was also bringing with her a fabulous excuse for The Room at the Bay to break out the fancy schmancy hors d’oeuvres and bottles of champagne again. In the year and a half since The Room was relaunched, it’s garnered quite the reputation for throwing some of the best industry shindigs around (see here, here and here for the evidence).

ADR in a Giles Deacon Spring 2011 bandage print dress and Brian Atwood pumps with a gaggle of her biggest fans

Of course, delicious mini burgers and open-bar aside, the evening was about Anna Dello Russo and Tommy Ton, and boy was it ever. True to what we’ve come to expect of Dello Russo and her multiple outfit changes during each day of Fashion Month, the guest of honour kicked off the evening in a lovely pink bandage print Giles Deacon dress and matching Brian Atwood pumps, and then slipped away briefly at one point to don a new ensemble, returning in the standout yellow and blue lampshade dress from Mary Katrantzou’s Spring 2011 runway show. Not to be outdone, Ton kept up with a mid-party outfit swap of his own. This man, who brings us images of the most fabulous footwear from the streets of the world’s fashion capitals, has serious shoe game himself.

Toronto’s fashion set also did not disappoint, showing up at The Room’s invite-only soiree in amped up getups clearly inspired by ADR’s own outrageous looks over the past few years. There was colour, bling, and a sense of sartorial adventure in the air. The Room looked its best too, with over-sized street style snaps of Dello Russo by Ton, new Spring 2011 designer arrivals and inspired visual displays galore. The Bay demonstrated once again that they know how to throw a party, which was abundantly clear when, as the evening drew to a close, I spotted the guests of honour grooving with guests on the makeshift dance floor - Dello Russo in the DJ booth and Ton posing with the most glammed out transvestite I’ve ever laid eyes on. In a word? Epic.

Tommy Ton and his date *wink*

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