Spotted from the Backseat: DX Intersection 2013 Edition

On October 18, the Design Exchange hosted its second annual DX Intersection, a fundraising event celebrating the intersection for all things creative. Toronto’s art, design and fashion communities gathered at the design museum to party with Byron and Dexter Peart of WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, who were honoured with the DX’s 2013 Gamechanger award for their cross-discipline creative achievements.

The evening’s highlights included delicious food (duck confit poutine by The Food Dudes and tostados by La Carnita – need we say more?), design installations and, of course, some good old fashioned two-stepping. Check out the gallery below for 21 style snaps from DX Intersection, featuring the imitable Jeanne Beker, socialite Krystal Koo, blogger Michelle Bilodeau, and more.

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Hermès Brings Le Festival des Métiers to the Design Exchange in Toronto

Hermès is in town, ladies and gents, and the most prestigious luxury brand in the world is inviting mere mortals like us – and you! – to take a rare peek inside the techniques used in its workshops to create its coveted silks, leather accessories, and even saddles. We had the pleasure of attending the press preview earlier this week, and were completely blown away as we watched the talented craftspeople assemble a Kelly bag, hand-paint a plate, and set diamonds in the pyramid of a collier de chien in the making.

This engaging cultural exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the longstanding traditions and values of Hermès in the crafting of fine objects defined by an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards of quality. Festival des Métiers features intimate behind-the-scenes demonstrations by masterful craftspeople from the renowned Hermès workshops in France, illustrating the methods in which products are painstakingly made-by-hand using techniques passed from generation to generation.

Festival des Métiers is a can’t-miss exhibition for fashion fans who are lucky enough to be in Toronto this week. It’s open to the public October 2 – 6, 2013, 11am – 7pm daily at the Design Exchange (234 Bay Street, Toronto), and it’s free!

Hermès CEO Patrick Thomas, Nelia Belkova, yours truly, and Jay Strut (Image credit: Spiro Mandylor)

A diamond collier de chien in the making!

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Inside the Christian Louboutin Exhibition Opening Gala at Design Exchange, Plus Our Ticket Giveaway!

Christian Louboutin, Jessica Chiu and yours truly

The Christian Louboutin 20th anniversary retrospective exhibition officially bowed last week at the Design Exchange in Toronto with much fanfare. In addition to a press conference and a public appearance at Holt Renfrew, Monsieur Louboutin personally launched the exhibit at an opening night gala attended by many of the French footwear designer’s biggest fans in the city.

Guests, including actress Sarah Gadon, Smythe designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe, and newly-appointed Hudson’s Bay Company vice-chairman Bonnie Brooks, sported their favourite red-soled designs to see highlights of Louboutin’s work from the last 20 years up close and personal and have a chat with the man himself. It was an event not to be missed by a true shoe addict, so yours truly was obviously there with camera in hand and beloved Loubies on the feet.

In fact, from the Louboutin carousel to the carefully-selected footwear choices of our fellow partygoers, there was shoe candy everywhere we looked. Check out the gallery below for 23 images from the Louboutin opening gala at the DX.

Want a closer look at the exhibition? We might just be able to hook you up: we’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to give away to 5 lucky readers of The Backseat Stylers! Contest rules are below. Good luck and happy shoe gazing!

Contest Rules:

1. To enter, leave us a comment on this blog post and ‘like’ The Backseat Stylers and Design Exchange’s Facebook pages here and here.

2. For a bonus entry, follow @backseatstylers and @DesignExchange on Twitter and tweet the following: “The @backseatstylers are giving away 5 pairs of @LouboutinWorld @DesignExchange exhibit tickets, and I want in! #DXCL”

3. Contest closes on July 2, 2013 at midnight. Winners will be contacted via email.

4. There are no prize substitutions. Travel not included.

Sarah Gadon and Christian Louboutin

Suzanne Boyd, Suzanne Cohon and Alexandra Weston

Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman

S with Kimberly Lyn (left)

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Fashion News

Everything You Need to Know About Christian Louboutin’s Toronto Visit and Exhibition

It’s finally time, fellow footwear addicts: Louboutin fever is about to hit Toronto! The Christian Louboutin 20th anniversary retrospective exhibition bows next week at the Design Exchange on June 21 and runs until September 15, 2013. Want a refresher on what’s in store? Check out the exhibition sneak peek we posted a few months back, and then click on over to to purchase your ticket, stat.

With the exhibit’s arrival also comes a barrage of events for Louboutin’s uber-fans, including the opening gala and a series of talks. Here’s the skinny on everything that’s happening, including the 411 on how you can meet the designer in the flesh and get your favourite pair of red-soled beauties signed.


Christian Louboutin – the man himself! – will be on hand to personally unveil the exhibition at a glamourous gala on June 20. Guests will be the first to view the exhibition while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and interactive activations by FLARE Magazine. It promises to be one of the biggest events of the year, so be sure to snag your ticket before it’s too late. Tickets are $150 for members and $175 for non DX-members via Dress code: Cocktail. See you there in your most fabulous Loubies!

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Fashion News

A Sneak Peek at the Christian Louboutin Exhibition Coming To Toronto’s Design Exchange in Summer 2013

Christian Louboutin celebrated the anniversary of his 20th year in the designer footwear business with his first ever retrospective exhibition at London’s Design Museum earlier this year. I was rather disappointed that I wasn’t able to hop over to the other side of the pond to experience the exhibit first hand; that is, until the Design Exchange (DX) made the unexpected and utterly delightful announcement last month that the museum would be bringing that very exhibition to Toronto. The exhibit, which drew record crowds during its run in London, will be at the DX from June 21 to September 15, 2013.

Donna Loveday, the exhibition’s curator, explains the concept behind it:

The exhibition celebrates Louboutin’s career to date and showcases twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design – from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps. Louboutin’s shoes are the epitome of style, glamour, femininity, elegance and craftsmanship.

 A strong narrative informs the exhibition and addresses the following key questions,
 who is Christian Louboutin?
 What was his route to shoe design?
 What are the inspirations and influences that have informed his work over 20 years?
 What is his design process?

The exhibition will present a carefully chosen selection of shoes from collections spanning twenty years. Alongside the shoes will be more personal mementos from Christian’s archive including photographs of his early years growing up in Paris, early sketches and shoe designs. The exhibition has had unique access to Christian Louboutin’s personal archive. A dramatic exhibition environment will present Louboutin’s artistic personality and creative approach. It will examine the many sources of his creativity, shoes inspired by performance and the showgirl; entertainment; transparency; travel and architecture.

The exhibition will also focus on the handcrafted shoe, one-off designs which incorporate highly innovative ideas, forms and materials. There will be a special section dedicated to the shoes designed for Fetish, an exhibition at the Gallerie Du Passage, Paris, in 2007, which was a unique collaboration of photography between Louboutin and acclaimed film maker David Lynch. At the core of the exhibition will be a unique exploration of Louboutin’s design process, taking the visitor through every stage of the design journey, revealing how a shoe is constructed, from the initial drawing and first prototype through to production in the factory.

Now I can finally stop lamenting having missed Louboutin’s visit to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto back in 2005. Instead, I’ll be counting down the days until the retrospective exhibition opens at the DX next summer. In the meantime, check out the trailer by London’s Design Museum and over 40 images from the exhibition’s run there below. And you may as well start debating which pair of red-soled beauties to don for the occasion, too.

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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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The National Ballet of Canada Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Tutu Exhibition

On July 11, Toronto’s social set descended on the Design Exchange to fete its joint exhibition with The National Ballet of Canada, 60 Years of Designing The Ballet. Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker, FASHION Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra (in Marni for H&M!) and Katrantzou-clad socialite Kara Alloway were among the gala attendees who spent the evening toasting the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary and admiring costumes and set pieces from its archives.

Curated by costume designer Caroline O’Brien, the exhibit features special items from past productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Emergence and more, going as far back as the 1950s. Also on display is The Tutu Project, 60 stunning, one-of-a-kind tutus created by Canadian fashion designers, artists and children alike in honour of the National Ballet’s big 6-0.

The exhibition runs from July 11 to September 2, 2012. For more information, visit

Glen Baxter, Shauna Levy, Jeanne Beker, Christine Faulhaber

FASHION Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra

Chanelle Ramsubick

Jewellery Designer Shay Lowe

xx, S

Image Credits: Peter Chatterton

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