Events

Thom Browne Charms at The Room at Hudson’s Bay


Nicholas Mellamphy, Thom Browne and Liz Rodbell

On November 4, The Room at Hudson’s Bay’s Toronto flagship threw an unforgettable cocktail party in honour of designer Thom Browne, complete with psychedelic wallpaper, an indoor lawn and the most fabulous stilt walkers you ever saw.

Of course, the folks at The Room have been on a roll of late. Liz Rodbell, President, HBC Department Store Group and Nicholas Mellamphy, Vice President, The Room hosted the soirée mere days after Fashion Blows, the awe-inspiring exhibition celebrating the life of Isabella Blow, closed at the luxury designer department. It’s been a good month for The Room, having been graced by the presence of style icon Daphne Guinness (in support of Fashion Blows), followed by the talented (and dapper!) Mr. Browne.

The evening was attended by a who’s who of Toronto’s social set, including the likes of Suits actress Meghan Markle, model Yasmine Warsame, philanthropist Suzanne Rogers, and fashion director George Antonopoulos. All were charmed by the New York-based designer, and many sported his wares to the event as evidence of their fandom. Check out the gallery below for some very chic style snaps from The Room’s Thom Browne fête.


Meghan Markle


Anita Clarke


Veronica Chu


Randi Bergman


Angela Koszuta

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Events

Fancy Fascinators and Dapper Bow Ties Abound at the 155th Queen’s Plate

On Sunday, July 6, Canada’s fashion and sporting worlds collided at the prestigious Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and the must-attend event of the summer. Woodbine Racetrack was the place to see and be seen, as Toronto’s social set walked the red carpet in their finest race day getups. Fancy fascinators and frocks for the ladies and dapper bow ties and hats for the gentlemen were the garb of choice as the crowd cheered filley Lexie Lou and jockey Patrick Husbands to their thrilling #QP14 win.

The excitement at the Hats & Horseshoes Party, hosted by the lovely Melissa Grelo from CTV‘s ‘The Social’, matched that of the grandstands. The FLARE VIP Lounge was the prime locale for an afternoon of horse wagering and street style snapping. We were wowed by the fashion at our first Queen’s Plate experience in 2013, but this year’s incredibly chic attendees took it to the next level for #QP14. From hats to wingtips, the fashion was bigger, bolder and more fabulous than ever before.

We were in awe of Stylist Box co-founder Gail McInnes and writer Vicki Hogarth‘s impressive DIY efforts; both ingeniously fashioned their own fascinators, the former from her cherished Madonna LP and the latter from dollar store butterflies that looked way more extravagant than they cost. We oohed and aahed over the ultra-chic monochromatic ensembles we spotted, included Fashion at the Races blogger Bri Mott‘s lime green lace getup, jewelry designer Shay Lowe‘s ladylike lavender look, as well as the co-ordinated, all-white ensembles by a gaggle of girlfriends we snapped in the FLARE VIP Lounge. One colour wasn’t good enough for etalk‘s Traci Melchor though; we fell head over heels for her fierce red and black hat and dress pairing.

As for yours truly, we chose stunning fascinators by David Dunkley (official milliner for the Queen’s Plate) for the occasion, and we couldn’t have felt more fabulous as we took in the races in the grandstands and enjoyed all that the Hats & Horseshoes Party had to offer. Missed out on all the fun this year? Not to worry, because #QP15 will be here before you know it – that means you’ve got a year to find the perfect race day ensemble. In the meantime, check out the video and photo gallery below for all the sartorial highlights from the 155th Queen’s Plate.

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Toronto Fashion Week #WashableFashion Edition


Blogger twins Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman in washable denim on denim

We’ve had #washablefashion on the brain of late. We’ve been busily sharing our own washable #ootds, oohing and aahing over yours, and even scouting World Mastercard Fashion Week for some good old #washablefashion on some of the most sartorially gifted industry insiders we know. In between shows, we snapped editors, bloggers and stylists alike, all sporting their washable best at the tents. Denim? Check. Plaid? Check. Cozy knits? Check. Washable? But of course!

Take a gander at our WMCFW street style snaps for some #washablefashion inspiration. Want to up your #washablefashion game too? Be sure to check out Pink Tartan‘s latest Washable Collection, a very stylish and practical collaboration with Tide Pods.

P.S. Thanks to all who entered our Pink Tartan x Tide Pods giveaway - you sure are a fashionable bunch! The winner will be announced shortly.


Blogger Anita Clarke in a too cool for school washable patterned moto jacket


Blogger Nelia Belkova in washable head-to-toe stripes and a furry blue friend


Wardrobe stylist Kirsten Reader in a fierce washable black and white getup


Blogger Vanessa Cesario in the most amazing washable overalls

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Events

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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Events

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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Events

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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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Queen’s Plate 2013 Edition


Sisi Penaloza, Anita Clarke, Vicki Hogarth, Gail McInnes and Andrea Bolley

Hats, horseshoes and bow ties, oh my! On Sunday, July 7, Woodbine Racetrack held the prestigious Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and one of the most exciting sporting and fashion events of the summer. After a month long countdown and one of the most epic contests we’ve hosted to date, we at The Backseat Stylers were delighted to finally attend our very first Queen’s Plate, and it turned out to be everything we dreamed it would be and more.

Outfitted in our chicest race day garb and exquisite fascinators by #QP2013 official milliner David Dunkley, we arrived at Woodbine for an afternoon of horse betting and street style snapping, both of which were great successes by our measure. The gents were more dapper, the ladies more fabulous, and the hats bolder and more bountiful than we’d imagined. Midnight Aria and jockey Jesse Campbell may have crossed the finish line first on the racetrack, but there were too many sartorial wins to count off the track.

We fell in love with Stylist Box co-founder Gail McInnes‘ gorgeous violet hat by Midence Oliu, adored bloggers Richard Fabregui and Marc Piercey‘s matching dapper bow ties, and were in awe of Jake Mossop‘s amazing tailcoat and top hat getup. We also oohed and aahed over iVillage style expert Sarah Francis‘ Gatsby-esque head jewels, squealed over our contest winner Kimberlee Montgomery‘s navy lace frock, and bowed down to blogger Kimberly Lyn‘s perfectly colour co-ordinated pant ensemble, which rightfully won best dressed honours from FASHION Magazine. As for our favourite headpiece of the day? Definitely the patriotic, red and white ‘O Canada’ hat – another David Dunkley creation – donned by on-duty CBC journalist Monika Platek, who doubled as our lovely Hats & Horseshoes Party host.

From cheering on our race horse picks in the grandstands to admiring fascinators in the invite-only Grey Goose Lounge, Queen’s Plate 2013 was a horse racing and fashion extravaganza, and we loved every single moment of it. Missed out on the fun this year? Don’t fret – #QP2014 will be here before you know it! In the meantime, check out the gallery below for 40 style snaps of racing fashion at its best from this year’s event.


Steven Carver, Chenessa Lam, Viktoria Szyling, Lance Chung, Sharad Mohan, Joe Reaves


CBC’s Monika Platek interviewing yours truly


Blogger Kimberly Lyn and FASHION’s Paige Dzenis


Our Queen’s Plate contest winner Kimberlee Montgomery (centre) and her BFFs

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Events

Spotted from the Backseat: Luminato and YSL Opening Night Party 2013


Anita Clarke and Kirk Pickersgill

We may have unofficially kicked off our Luminato 2013 with an impromptu photo booth session with Daria Werbowy last week, but the festival wasn’t officially underway until the Luminato and YSL opening party at Brookfield Place the next night.

At the very well-attended soirée, we photo-boothed some more (sans Daria this time), snagged some bubbly and complimentary hand engraved Touche Eclat pens (yes!) courtesy of YSL, and, of course, people watched. With bold face names like performance artist Marina Abramovic and actor Willem Dafoe in attendance and looks like Melissa Manly in a gorgeous Carven cut-out frock and Rufus Wainwright in a delightfully outrageous cloud-print suit gracing the red carpet, there was certainly plenty to see.

Check out the gallery below for 18 of our favourite style spotting moments from the Luminato and YSL opening night party.


Randi Bergman and Blaire Borins


Barry Avrich and Melissa Manly


Shakura S’Aida and Jay Strut


Gracie Carroll and Odessa Paloma Parker

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Power Ball 2013 Edition

On June 6, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery threw its 15th annual fundraiser and Toronto’s most highly anticipated summer art party, Power Ball: 15 Minutes. Even Mother Nature and her torrential downpours couldn’t keep the city’s social set from flocking to the Harbourfront for an evening of art, fashion, and the types of shenanigans you’ll never witness at another “ball”. We’re looking at you, brave lady in her birthday suit (yes, really).

With DJs Deko-ze and Physical Therapy serving up the beats (Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ made our night) and Marc Thuet and his team supplying the eats (pulled pork sliders for the win!), we roamed from room to room, taking in the strange and wonderful art installations and partygoer style. From designer Amanda Lew Kee‘s hard-to-miss floral headdress to PR maven Susan Chong‘s summery white Greta Constantine frock to blogger Stefania Yarhi‘s voluminous floral print coat, Power Ball was a delight as usual, sartorially speaking and otherwise.

Check out the gallery below for some of our favourite looks from Power Ball: 15 Minutes. And if you’re kicking yourself for missing this year’s bash, well, you should be.

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Events

Viktor & Rolf Take Over The Room at The Bay Toronto

“Nice jacket”: two words that literally made my week, uttered by Viktor Horsting (or was it Rolf Snoeren? It was all such a giddy blur.) to me. The jacket in question? A mustard yellow blazer with contrast black piping designed by Viktor & Rolf themselves. The Amsterdam-based duo was in town earlier this week for a very well-attended meet-and-greet with Toronto’s fashion set at The Room at The Bay.

With HBC President Bonnie Brooks and VP / Buying Director of The Room Nicholas Mellamphy as hosts and DJ Mia Moretti spinning her magic, partygoers that included the inimitable Jeanne Beker, FASHION Magazine’s EIC Bernadette Morra and socialites Stacey Kimel and Suzanne Rogers spent the evening chatting with the charming Dutch guests-of-honour, sipping on champagne and admiring the V&R wares.

Dr. Lisa Airan and PR maven Suzanne Cohon stole the sartorial show with brightly-coloured frocks, the former in an orange Carven dress with cutouts and the latter in a fuchsia Roksanda Ilincic number (last seen on Ginnifer Goodwin!). The usually cool as a cucumber blogger Anita Clarke chose a peplum Roland Mouret to meet her fashion idols, while the effortlessly chic stylist Amy Patel paired her Margiela x H&M bodysuit with denim overalls for the occasion. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention blogger Jay Strut, who showed up in a heavily embellished Balmain jacket that made our jaws drop.

Check out the gallery below for some of our favourite looks from the night.


Image Credit: George Pimentel

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