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: 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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Sarah Stevenson Crowned Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels 2013 Winner

On April 30, Toronto Fashion Incubator held its annual TFI New Labels fundraising gala at The Carlu in Toronto. Chaired by Suzanne Rogers and emceed by a David Dixon-clad Dina Pugliese, the evening’s main event was the design competition runway show presented by Target and the crowning of this year’s New Labels winner.

Suzanne Rogers and Dina Pugliese

The show was the culmination of a six-month long competition that saw the field of contestants narrowed down to a very talented final four that included Christopher Paunil by Chalo Barrueta and Christopher Paunil, Paria Shirvani, Sarah Stevenson and SEVENTHIRTYONE by Maiko Suzuki and Defne Husrevoglu. With the support of beauty partner P&G Beauty & Grooming, the finalists presented four very distinct and well received collections in front of a discerning crowd of industry insiders that included designer Arthur Mendonça, model Stacey McKenzie, The Room’s Nicholas Mellamphy, and sponsor Mantella Corporation’s Sylvia Mantella.

Gabrielle Miller and Stacey McKenzie

If their audience didn’t already have them shaking in their fashionable boots, then the New Labels judges surely did. This year’s distinguished panel was made up of FLARE Editor-in-Chief Miranda Purves, TNT Boutiques’ Arie Assaraf, Target Divisional Merchandise Manager Elisha Ballantyne, Target Senior Vice President, Merchandising John Morioka, TFI President David Dixon and gala chair Suzanne Rogers.

Winner Sarah Stevenson with the esteemed judging panel after her win

After a short but tough deliberation, the judges named Sarah Stevenson, who presented a cohesive line-up of looks featuring gorgeous prints and laser-cut detailing, the 2013 TFI New Labels winner. In addition to bragging rights, the Toronto native’s prize haul included a $25,000 cash award donated by Suzanne Rogers, a full-page feature in FLARE Magazine, and the opportunity to design a collection to be sold exclusively in Target locations across Canada in 2014. Congratulations Sarah!

Table #8!

Check out the gallery below for 40 images from the 2013 TFI New Labels gala, featuring Canadian fashion both on and off the runway.

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Spotted from the Backseat: DX Intersection 2012 Edition

Jenna Naumovich

On November 16, the Design Exchange held the inaugural DX INTERSECTION, a fundraising party in support of the Toronto design museum’s youth education and design preservation initiatives. Hundreds of attendees were treated to everything from a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind, customized IKEA items to a Food Dudes food truck serving breakfast (genius!), and much, much more. Every corner of the museum offered something new to see, do, eat. A contender for art party of the year? Most definitely.

Toronto’s fashion set, including blogger Anita Clarke, fashion director Liz Cabral (in that Margiela x H&M trompe l’oeil bra top!) and accessories designer Jenny Bird, showed up in full force to support the DX and have a little design fun. They had the opportunity to meet author and artist Douglas Coupland, winner of the DX’s very first Gamechanger award, DIY their very own fascinators at the FLARE x Milk Glass Co. booth (how fun is that?!), and stuff their faces at the late night food market (oh wait, that was me).

I sadly didn’t get a chance to check out all that the evening had to offer (in hindsight, maybe I should have spent less time munching on those to-die-for risotto balls), but I’ve certainly learned my lesson. Next year, I’m going to be the first in the door and the last one out. DX INTERSECTION just officially became one of my favourite fundraising parties of the year, and I don’t want to miss a second of the next one.

Kevin O’Neill and Liz Cabral

Anita Clarke

Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine

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Fashion News

M.A.C Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25 Line-Up to Feature Elton John, Janelle Monáe and More

M∙A∙C Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25 has announced the line-up of musical talent and fashion designers that will be taking part in the star-studded fundraiser scheduled for September 9, 2012 in Toronto. Raising funds in support of HIV/AIDS awareness and the AIDS Committee of Toronto since 1987, this 25th and final edition of Fashion Cares will feature performances by Sir Elton John and his guests, including Scissor Sisters, Janelle Monáe and Sky Ferreira.

Supermodel Linda Evangelista and designers Dean & Dan Caten of DSQUARED2 will serve as hosts of an evening that will feature a cocktail reception, a Fashion Cares-inspired fashion show, and musical acts that will also include Canadian favourites like Jully Black, Kreesha Turner and more. In addition, attendees will enjoy a 25-year Fashion Cares retrospective exhibit showcasing glamourous looks from past Fashion Cares events, as well as items from Elton John’s costume archives.

Designers contributing original pieces to the fashion show include: Comrags, David Dixon, DSquared2, Elie Saab, Farley Chatto, Gareth Pugh, Greta Constantine, Hoax Couture, Izzy Camilleri, Joeffer Caoc, Manish Arora, Marty Rotman, Mercy, Pat McDonagh, Pink Tartan, Sandra Rabasca, Stephane Rollande, Susan Dicks, The Blondes, Valencienne and Welly.

Musical performers joining Elton John on the Fashion Cares 25 stage will include: Aleesia, Anjulie, Jully Black, Diamond Rings, Divine Brown, Keshia Chanté, Jarvis Church, Shawn Desman, Sky Ferreira, Elise Legrow, Midway State, Mia Martina, Stephan Moccio, Janelle Monáe, Billy Newton Davis, Carole Pope, RyanDan, Serena Ryder, Scissors Sisters, Kreesha Turner and Nikki Yanofsky.

Fashion Cares 25 promises to be nothing short of spectacular, and all in the name of a very worthy cause. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

xx, S

Images via FUSE Marketing, SALON, Nialler9


Toronto Fashion Incubator Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Glamourous TFI25 Gala

Honorary chair Suzanne Rogers and sponsor Sylvia Mantella 

On May 3, Toronto Fashion Incubator celebrated its 25th anniversary with a fundraising gala at the Royal Ontario Museum, aptly dubbed TFI25, that was attended by a who’s who of Toronto’s social set and fashion industry and fit for Barbie herself. Chaired by Suzanne Rogers and emceed by a Greta Constantine-clad Jully Black, the evening featured a VIP dinner, a Barbie-inspired celebrity runway show, the annual TFI New Labels design competition fashion show and, of course, an after-party.

Singer and TFI25 Master of Ceremonies Jully Black

After a 6 month long competition, finalists Patrick LarrivéeSid NeigumJameson Kane by Genevieve Pearson and Stanley Capobianco, and [blak] – i by Diego Fuchs and Helder Aguiar showed four very well received collections that made the TFI New Labels judges’ decision that much more difficult to make. “Judges are in big trouble from @SusanAtTFI”, FLARE Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief Lisa Tant tweeted, ”because we can’t decide and won’t come out.”

FLARE Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and TFI New Labels judge Lisa Tant

Tant was joined on the judging panel by TNT Boutiques’ Arie AssarafToronto Star‘s Derick Chetty, TFI President David Dixon, TFI Executive Director Susan Langdon and the gala’s honorary chair Suzanne Rogers, who donated the $25,000 grand prize. In the end, Edmonton native Sid Neigum was named this year’s TFI New Labels winner, taking home a prize package valued at $60,000, which included a feature in FLARE Magazine and a design studio at the TFI sponsored by Arie Assaraf.

TFI New Labels winner Sid Neigum and model

Those weren’t the only prizes up for grabs at TFI25. The Barbie-inspired fashion show featured celebrity models like Dina Pugliese, Tanya Kim and Trish Stratus in designs by VAWKArthur Mendonça, Anastasia Lomonova and more. While past TFI New Labels winner Sarah Nicol of Sar Couture was awarded the $10,000 cash prize, it was actress Tara Spencer-Nairn in VAWK who stole the show with her robotic runway walk, tweeted FASHION Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra.

Dina Pugliese in Barbie-inspired dress by Stema

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The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2012

Jully Black in Lauren Bagliore

Last night, the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s The Heart Truth Fashion Show took the LRD to a whole new level. Always a hit, the event featured a runway presentation of 17 Canadian female celebrities in as many red dresses – the official symbol of The Heart Truth campaign – by top Canadian designers.

Etalk’s Jessi Cruickshank opened the show in a gorgeous gown by Adrian Wu (who’s only 21 years old!), while a smoking Shannon Tweed-Simmons closed it in an Arthur Mendonça number and on the arm of husband Gene Simmons, no less (yes, that Gene Simmons!). In between, actress Ali Liebert played the bombshell role quite perfectly in a short, embellished Momo frock and singer Jully Black stole the whole damn show, dancing on the runway in a stunning Lauren Bagliore gown.

Other celebrity models included Tamara Taylor in Mark Belford, Isabelle Maréchal wearing Anne de Shalla, Catriona Le May Doan in LOVAS, Natasha Gargiulo sporting MICALLA, Divine Brown in Freda’s, Pascale Hutton wearing Paul Hardy, Susan Haskell in David Dixon, Lauren Lee Smith rocking Ines Di Santo, Liza Fromer in Mallia, Jessica Steen wearing Joeffer Caoc, Angie Seth in Thien Le, Gabrielle Rose donning Something Blue Vancouver and Lisa Ray in Farley Chatto.

And it was all for a great cause, raising awareness about the importance of heart health in women. Read more about The Heart Truth campaign and watch the complete fashion show here.

Jessi Cruickshank in Adrian Wu

Ali Liebert in Momo

Gene Simmons in Indochino and Shannon Tweed-Simmons in Arthur Mendonça

Designer Adrian Wu with celebrity model Jessi Cruickshank

xx, S

Street Style

Stylin’ from the Backseat: Shameless

Yesterday I posted style snaps from this year’s Operanation 8: A Muse Ball, and guess what? I wore clothes to the Ball too. More specifically, I donned my favourite David Dixon dress. The last time I took my sample sale find out for a spin was to Prom at the ROM earlier this year, when the “Into the Wild” theme of the event called for an animalistic approach to styling. This time, though, I needed an ensemble that would take me from the last day of shows at LG Fashion Week straight to Operanation.

Dressing for two events is always tricky; inevitably I find myself overdressed for one shindig and under-dressed for the other. On this particular day, I seemed to have pulled it off. In fact, Sabrina declared, “If I had a street style blog, I’d be all over you,” or something of that sort. A ringing endorsement, indeed! But since she doesn’t have one, and I happen to, I did the job myself. Ever the shameless style blogger.

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel jacket / David Dixon dress / Chanel bag / Giuseppe Zanotti shoes / Biko Jewellery necklace / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up

xx, S

Street Style

Stylin’ from the Backseat: Seasonless

The last time I wore this David Dixon sample sale find, it was the dead of winter; black tights and closed-toe shoes were a necessity more than a fashion choice. In the heat of July I pulled the dress out of my closet for round two, and left the pearls, tights and pumps behind this time. Instead, I turned to purple Gucci sandals for a pop of colour and my FALLON cuff for some edge, producing a decidedly very different vibe from my first go at styling this dress. Sure, the fabric was a bit heavy for summer and I sweltered a bit, but it was all worth it.

David Dixon dress (last seen here) / Club Monaco belt / Chanel bag / Gucci shoes / FALLON cuff (last seen here) / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up

xx, S

Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: David Dixon Fall 2011

I’ve had a lot of love for David Dixon lately, thanks largely to a few gorgeous pieces I picked up at a recent sample sale and have been wearing all around town (see here and here). The flattering designs, high quality workmanship and very practical details (i.e. hidden pockets in cocktail dresses!) have made Dixon a personal favourite, so I was looking forward to his Fall 2011 show at LG Fashion Week. When delays earlier on in the evening caused his show to run 1.5 hours late, I was exhausted but determined to stay to see his “Reunion” show, celebrating Dixon’s 16 years in the business.

Opening with a short retrospective of his work over the last 16 years and an emotional tribute to his late parents, Dixon then took us to Jakarta, the inspiration for his Fall 2011 collection. From the fierce leopard print number that kicked off the show to the beautifully-draped red gown that closed it, what came down the runway made staying up way past my bedtime incredibly worth it. While the styling was lacking (why the cheap-looking patterned tights and open-toe wedge booties?), it did not distract from the elegant designs. The animal and tribal print dresses and separates gave the collection a distinct Indonesian flair, and were so chic that even this print-fearing gal wanted a piece. Not to be missed among the Jakarta-inspired looks were Dixon’s signature evening dresses, including a petal-skirt cocktail dress right up my alley.

No Barbie by David Dixon collection was shown this season, but it wasn’t missed (by me, anyway). What Dixon created for his main line for Fall 2011 included enough covetable pieces for me – I didn’t need a whole other line to tempt me as well!

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