Spotted from the Backseat: Operanation 2014 Edition

On October 16, the Canadian Opera Company hosted its annual fundraiser, Operanation, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Operanation: Light Up The Night was a spectacular evening of music, food and fashion in support of the opera company’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.

Co-chaired by Randi Bergman of Fashion MagazineAnne Maggisano of Burgundy Asset Management and Patrick Sambrook of Eggplant Entertainment, this year’s event had a modern Spanish flair, inspired by the COC’s production of The Barber of Seville. The highlight of the night was a much anticipated performance by the French band Yelle.

Guests went ultra glam for the occasion. Nelia Belkova looked red carpet-worthy in emerald green H&M, Gracie Carroll repped Canadian fashion fabulously in Greta Constantine, and Amy Burstyn-Fritz stunned in a standout orange gown. Check out the gallery below for style snaps from Operanation: Light Up The Night.

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Spotted from the Backseat: Toronto Life’s Most Stylish Party 2014 Edition

Candice Chan (middle) and Alison Slight (right)

On September 4, Toronto’s most sartorially-gifted gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel to celebrate the launch of Toronto Life‘s latest Stylebook and the select few featured in its pages. The city’s fashion set, including the likes of Joe and Kimberley Mimran, FASHION Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra, model Stacey McKenzie, and Dion and Elisha Phaneuf, spent the opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival schmoozing with honourees past, present and future.

This year’s Most Stylish included the likes of Chloe Rogers (Elite model), Suzanne Cohon (principal, ASC Toronto), Elaine Lui (co-host, The Social), Lisa Corbo (co-owner, George C), Markus Anderson (consultant, Soho House Group), Ray Civello (founder of Civello Salon and Spa, and president of Aveda Canada), Lance Chung (fashion journalist), Sacha Grierson, (co-owner, Eat My Words) and her daughter, Lola FlaneryVanessa Morcom (CEO, Morcom Media) and more.

Check out the gallery below for over 30 style snaps of Toronto’s best dressed folks at the #TLMostStylish event.

Amy Burstyn-Fritz

Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf

Kimberley Newport-Mimran and Joe Mimran

Dean and Dan Caten

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Spotted from the Backseat: Operanation 2013 Edition

Co-chair Amy Burstyn-Fritz

On October 24, the Canadian Opera Company held Operanation 10: A Night of Temptation, the 2013 edition of its annual fundraiser in support of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, its training program for young opera professionals. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts opened its doors for one of our favourite events on Toronto’s social calendar, which this year featured a VIP dinner and incredible performances by the Sam Roberts Band and Canadian soprano Ambur Braid. And did we mention the gourmet macaroni and cheese station? It was the stuff of dreams.

As was the fashion, actually. When we weren’t mugging for the photo booth camera (or munching on the aforementioned mac and cheese), we were busy being in awe of the guests’ chic gala style. Amy Burstyn-Fritz showed up for her Operanation co-chair duties in an ethereal custom dress by New York-based designer Kaelen, while songstress Ambur Braid chose a stunning emerald J. Mendel gown for her on-stage performance.

Other memorable sartorial moments included Suzanne Rogers‘ artful Alexander McQueen jewelled skull clutch and matching earrings, Verity Megan Curtis‘ gorgeous fascinator and jumpsuit ensemble, and Stacey McKenzie‘s left leg peeking out of a standout Greta Constantine draped jersey number à la Angelina Jolie circa Oscars 2012.

It was an ultra-glamourous night befitting of Operanation’s 10th anniversary, and one that we imagine will be very tough for the COC to top next year.

Glenn Dixon and Suzanne Rogers

Stacey McKenzie

Caitlin Agnew and Anita Clarke

Barbara Ann Solomon

Christine Tizzard and Tracy Briggs

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The Room at Hudson’s Bay Fêtes Shoe Designers Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophia Webster

Yours truly with Nicholas Kirkwood

Canada’s swankiest shoe salon continues to host some of the biggest names in footwear. A mere two weeks ago it was Sam Edelman who stopped by Hudson’s Bay‘s Toronto flagship for a visit. This week? London-based designer and Backseat Stylers favourite Nicholas Kirkwood and his protégé and rising star Sophia Webster.

The city’s fashion set descended on The Room‘s shoe department – the setting for the invite-only affair and home to luxury brands like Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Olympia and Alaïa – for the chance to chat shoes and share a glass of bubbly with our guests-of-honour from across the pond. Both brought with them their latest, to-die-for offerings, which had us in serious danger of whipping out our credit cards at any given moment.

All that distracted us from spending the next year’s worth of footwear budgets that very night was the chic attendees in their Tuesday best. We’re still swooning over Suzanne Rogers‘ artful Thom Browne dress, Jenna Bitove Naumovich‘s fierce red tartan tailcoat, and Sophia Webster’s vibrant Kenzo get-up. Check out the gallery below for 33 snaps of partygoer style and – what else? – shoes, shoes and more shoes.

Bonnie Brooks and Sophia Webster

Vonna Bitove and Jenna Bitove Naumovich

Kimberly Lyn, Samantha Beckerman, yours truly, and Caillianne Beckerman

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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: The Book Lover’s Ball 2013 Edition

Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and author Helen Burstyn

On February 7, over 600 of Canada’s most avid readers and top literary talent gathered at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto for the 8th annual The Book Lover’s Ball. The likes of Conrad Black, Jian Ghomeshi and actress Sonja Smits turned out for the black tie gala in support of the Toronto Public Library. Hosted by Cityline‘s Tracy Moore, the evening featured a gourmet dinner, the requisite silent and (almost, in this case) live auctions, and post-dinner entertainment inspired by Canadian novels.

Between chatting about things that go bump in the night with psychological thriller author Jennifer Hillier and taking in mini fashion shows featuring designs by Lucian Matis and Starkers Corsetry, we left the event photography to the pros this time around. George Pimentel snapped the lovely Melissa Fishman in an embellished blush gown, one of our gala style favourites Elly Barlin-Daniels in a sleek black number, and the stunning duo of Amy Burstyn-Fritz and her mother and author Helen Burstyn also in their black tie best.

Melissa Fishman

Chatelaine’s Leanne Doolan

Elly Barlin-Daniels

Cityline’s Tracy Moore and author Vincent Lam

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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: Operanation 2012 Edition

On October 18, the Canadian Opera Company held Operanation 9: Sweet Revenge, the 2012 edition of its annual fundraiser in support of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, its training program for young opera professionals. Operanation 8 was a fabulous fusion of music and fashion, and this year’s event was no less so. Toronto’s social set flocked to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for an evening featuring performances by none other than Canadian songbird Nelly Furtado and the 2012 Juno winner for Group of the Year the Arkells.

Vibrant prints weren’t on the dress code, but it sure looked as though it was: Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz donned a beautiful Erdem gown, FASHION Magazine‘s Paige Dzenis chose an eye-catching abstract-print frock for the occasion, and Monica Mei sported a gorgeous floral-print and sheer number of her own design. Black and white was a favourite among the chic guests as well, with Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus balancing an uncharacteristically girly lace dress with Balenciaga boots, jewelry designer Jenny Bird stepping out in a frilly lace top and suspendered pants, and actress Gabrielle Miller looking downright stunning in a design by Lucian Matis.

Operanation 9 was both a feast for the eyes and the ears. How will the COC top it next year? I can’t wait to find out.

Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus

AIME designer Monica Mei

Jewelry designer Jenny Bird and guest

FASHION Magazine’s Paige Dzenis

Actress Gabrielle Miller

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Our 10 Favourite Looks of 2011!

Liz Cabral of FLARE Magazine at the Mugler event at The Room at the Bay

Toronto’s most fashionable folks made our gig as part-time street style snappers rather easy this past year. We spent little time trolling the streets and, instead, had the pleasure of shooting the city’s most impeccably dressed at the very best industry events and charity galas the city had to offer. These 10 shots are our favourite from the year, and they feature 11 stunning women in ensembles that made us drop our jaws and shamelessly chase after them for photos.

And on that note, thank you to all of our street style subjects from the past 12 months, included in this post or not, who graciously allowed us to interrupt conversations with long lost friends or accost them as they were just biting into an hors d’oeuvre, and who pretended not to notice when we started snapping with our lens cap still on. We look forward to shooting all of you again in 2012!

Suzanne Rogers in Paul & Joe Spring 2011 at the 10th Annual POGO Gala, with Jenna Naumovich

Elly Barlin-Daniels in Marc Jacobs Resort 2011 at the 10th Annual POGO Gala

Amy Burstyn-Fritz of Knot PR in Calla Fall 2011 at Operanation

Carly Stojsic of WGSN and Lisa Tant of FLARE Magazine (in Prabal Gurung Fall 2011) at the P&G Beauty and Grooming Awards

Vyara Ndejuru of ALDO at the A is for ALDO launch

Faith Orfus of RAC Boutique at Operanation

Jenna Naumovich in Erdem at the Ignite the Spark Gala

Mosha Lundström Halbert of FLARE Magazine at the Proenza Schouler event at The Room, with Shinan Govani of the National Post

Ainsley Kerr in Lucian Matis Fall 2011 at the 10th Annual POGO Gala

xx, T & S

Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Operanation 2011 Edition

Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn Fritz in a Calla Haynes skirt

On October 21, T and I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Opera Company‘s eighth annual fundraiser, Operanation 8: A Muse Ball in Toronto. Despite having given opera a few sadly unsuccessful tries in the past (in hindsight, War and Peace in Russian wasn’t a very good starter opera), T was excited about the opportunity to see headliner Rufus Wainwright perform live and I was lured in by the promise of a fashion installation curated by RAC Boutique owners Glenna Weddle and Faith Orfus. Neither disappointed.

Featuring incredible, muse-inspired looks by Canadian designers Calla HaynesJoeffer CaocArthur Mendonça and Ashley Rowe, RAC’s installation was rivalled only by the partygoers’ own stunning ensembles. From lady in red Amy Burstyn-Fritz to a Mary Katrantzou-clad Megan Loach, the Operanation crowd was as well-styled and sartorially inspiring as the installation itself. In between style snaps, T and I also managed to eat, drink and dance the night away. In fact, we had so much fun that we vowed to give opera another proper try…or at least to attend Operanation again next year!

Designer Arthur Mendonça with a model in his design

RAC Boutique’s Faith Orfus

I Want – I Got’s Anita Clarke in a breathtaking Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 shawl

Red lips and white sequins

The Room at the Bay’s Megan Loach in Mary Katrantzou Spring 2011

xx, S

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