This past October, the calendar for our city’s extended 2-week long Toronto Fashion Week had a notable omission. Greta Constantine had decided to defer what is usually one of the most highly anticipated and well-attended shows each season. Their glamourous jersey frocks, the bread and butter of designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, were certainly missed.
Fast forward a month or so and the fashion week-attending crowd had been summoned to the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s Distillery District for a long-awaited Spring 2013 runway show from the Greta boys. The timing was genius, really. Presenting their latest collection outside the madness that is TFW meant that attendees could focus on Greta and Greta alone. And boy did we.
From the moment the first look came down the runway, we knew we were in for a fabulous treat. Gone, for the most part, were the drapey gowns we covet so much, replaced by body-hugging, equally sexy alternatives for next spring’s red carpet opportunities. It felt like a new Greta, a Greta we never knew was missing from our lives but immediately embraced.
The line-up of LBDs were to-die-for, as always, but the head-to-toe white looks were an unexpectedly girly delight. “I want to buy the entire collection, fly to Paris and eat croissants,” I whispered to Anita Clarke, wide-eyed as I watched the chicly-attired models glide by. She laughed, but I meant it. I’d been transported out of my seat to a café date on a lovely summer’s day in Paris, and I’m not sure all of me has come back yet to my frigid winter Toronto reality.
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It’s officially December, and we know you’re impatiently counting down the days until Santa shimmies down your chimney with the shoes of your dreams in his sack. Until then, though, you’re going to have to make do with us, your trusty, neighbourhood, fashion-conscious elves. Lucky for you, we take our jobs very seriously. In fact, we’re teaming up with some of our favourite e-retailers this month to bring you the biggest giveaways we’ve hosted to date – our way of saying ‘merci beaucoup!’ for your support this past year.
First up: eLUXE! We professed our love for this Canadian site when we posted our interview of CEO Joanna Track recently and a quick window-shopping jaunt over there will have you feeling the same way, if you don’t already. Just a few minutes into our e-visit and the wish list was already a mile long. That’s certain to happen to you too, so we’re going to give one lucky reader of The Backseat Stylers the opportunity to win their wish list items. Tell us what you’re coveting from eLUXE for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree!
Excited? So are we. Here are 8 reasons why (clockwise from top left):
1. Velvet ‘Vonnie’ Sequin Top ($165) – With holiday parties taking over our calendars this month, there’s no better time to add some sparkle to your wardrobe, though we tend to sport our sequins all year round.
2. Milly Leather Collar Sweater ($359) – This sweater combines two of our most favourite things right now: cobalt blue and leather. Even better, the leather collar and cuffs are removable, making this one very versatile piece.
3. Greta Constantine Primer ‘Maha’ Dress ($265) – We pretty much adore everything Canadian designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine design, and at Primer (their diffusion line) prices their party dresses are completely irresistible.
4. Tiger of Sweden ‘Acadie’ Moto Jacket ($599) – Not all motorcycle jackets are created the same, and this one is perfection. The leather peplum makes it very of-the-moment, but the jacket will be a closet staple for years to come.
5. Rebekah Price ‘Serpentine’ Drop Earrings ($187.25) – We’ve been hearing this Toronto-based jewelry designer’s name for a while, and now we know why: to-die-for Swarovski crystal statement pieces that need to be in our jewelry box, stat.
6. Gee Beauty ‘The Red Carpet Look’ Set ($134) – S underwent a red carpet transformation courtesy of the lovely ladies at Gee Beauty during this year’s TIFF, and the results were ultra glam. Everything you need for your very own red carpet makeover is in this set.
7. Elizabeth and James ‘E-Sash’ Heel ($360) – The oxblood red and cap-toe trends combine for one rather gorgeous pump from the contemporary line of the Olsen twins. It’s a double-duty shoe that will go seamlessly from the office to cocktails.
8. Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. Clutch ($225) – This bag’s been on our radar for years now, and it’s about time we – and you! – finally made the leap. It’s available in two sizes and a range of colours and leathers, but one can never go wrong with purple patent.
There are so many covet-worthy items on eLUXE right now – go forth and explore! Then report back for a chance to win that $500 shopping spree. Contest rules are below. Good luck everyone!
Congrats to the winner of the $500 eLUXE shopping spree…Erica K! Please email us to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!
xx, T & S
Contest Rules [CLOSED]:
1. To enter, leave us a comment telling us how you would spend the $500 shopping spree, including links to the specific items on eLUXE.ca. Also, ‘like’ The Backseat Stylers and eLUXE’s Facebook pages here and here.
2. For a bonus entry (you must complete step #1 first), follow @backseatstylers and @shopeluxe on Twitter and tweet the following: “HO HO HO! The @backseatstylers are giving away a @shopeluxe $500 shopping spree, and I want it! http://bit.ly/TAWA4R #giveaway #BSSholiday”
3. The contest closes at midnight on December 9, 2012. The winner will be selected randomly and will be notified by e-mail.
4. Contest open to readers in Canada only.
5. There are no prize substitutions and no cash value.
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
My spoils of war
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On September 22, Canada’s Walk of Fame held its annual gala in honour of this year’s inductees. As Team Canada 1972, musician Randy Bachman, the late actor Phil Hartman, CFL star Russ Jackson, singer Sarah McLachlan and ballet dancer Sonia Rodriguez received their shiny new stars, yours truly diligently captured the evening’s most stylish.
From the inductees themselves, like the elegant Sonia Rodriguez in a blush-coloured gown and on the arm of husband Kurt Browning, to gala attendees, including actress Jill Hennessy in a LBD from Cynthia Rowley’s Resort 2013 collection and TV host Liza Fromer in a draped violet creation by Greta Constantine, the Canada’s Walk of Fame red carpet never looked so stylish.
2012 Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee Sonia Rodriguez
Television host Liza Fromer in Greta Constantine
Actress Jill Hennessy in Cynthia Rowley Resort 2013
Me in VAWK Resort 2012
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Known more for her role as Clark Kent’s love interest and Lois Lane’s cousin in the television series Smallville than for her style, Kristin Kreuk wasn’t one I ever expected to feature on this here blog. That is, until she stepped out in a lovely white jersey number this week to attend the Television Critics Association’s Summer Party 2012.
Kristin was the picture of summer chic in a draped frock by Greta Constantine, patent leather platform pumps and a thin gold bracelet. Her hair and make-up were impeccable. In fact, she looked more than ready for her role as Beauty in the upcoming television series Beauty and the Beast. Can we expect to see some Greta on our television screens soon? Here’s hoping!
Image via TFS
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 fashioncares.com.
Images via FUSE Marketing, SALON, Nialler9
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 Larrivée, Sid Neigum, Jameson 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 Assaraf, Toronto 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 VAWK, Arthur 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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On Friday, March 19, I was summoned to the brand spanking new Arcadian Loft event space atop The Bay’s Toronto flagship for the Greta Constantine Fall 2012 runway show. What I arrived at the show expecting from designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong’s latest womenswear collection was more of what the brand has come to be known for – namely, painfully chic party dresses. And by painful, I mean to those of us who can’t quite afford to fill our wardrobes with Greta, Greta and more Greta. And by “those of us”, I mean me.
But the design duo sent more than just a bevy of beautiful jewel-toned jersey dresses down the runway this season (though I never tire of those). Expanding outside of what’s been Greta Constantine’s bread and butter to date, the collection also included to-die-for knits, edgy leather-accented pieces and even catsuits, many of which I’d have happily snatched off the runway and worn right now. There was more black on the runway than in past collections, but I’m not complaining. One can never have too many gorgeously-draped LBDs or fierce black jackets in one’s closet anyway.
The collection is sure to be a hit. Pickersgill and Wong’s instantly recognizable jersey dresses, often spotted on Toronto’s charity ball circuit, are already must-haves. And it looks as though their outerwear and separates aren’t far behind.
Designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong kicked off Toronto Fashion Week recently with their combined Greta Constantine / Ezra Constantine show. Always a crowd favourite, the city’s fashion set was out in full force, as Canada’s top editors, buyers and critics, as well as the designers’ best customers, all congregated in local nightclub Century Room to see what they had in store for Spring 2012.
What came down the runway was everything we wanted and expected to see. Top models like Tara Gill and Amanda Laine rocked masterfully draped pieces in both neutral-toned and coloured jerseys. The collection offered party-perfect dresses in eye-catching colours like coral and eggplant for the city sophisticate, and edgy designs in black, white and grey (my kind of summer palette) for her deliciously dark alternate persona.
One day I’m dressed like a lady who lunches (key words: “dressed like”) and the very next I’m styled like the black sheep sister; Pickersgill and Wong’s latest collection has both moods covered. They haven’t forgotten about accessories, either. Models strutted down the runway in shoes the duo designed in collaboration with footwear company Aldo and, in some cases, toting cheeky bags with “It’s Greta! Hello….” printed on them.
Each lucky show attendee, including myself, was gifted with one of said bags. It didn’t come with the rest of the runway look, sadly, but I have big plans to fill my tote with a jersey dress or two when the Greta Constantine Spring collection hits sales floors. Based on what I saw at the runway show, that time can’t come soon enough; I need more Greta in my closet, stat.
See complete runway show photos on Toronto Life.
Image Credits: Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life
On October 21, 2011, the Canadian Opera Company will be hosting its annual fundraiser, Operanation 8: A Muse Ball, and this year’s party promises a fashionable twist! Canadian fashion designers Calla Haynes, Joeffer Caoc, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong for Greta Constantine, Arthur Mendonça and Ashley Rowe have been commissioned by the COC to create designs inspired by their own personal muses.
The custom-made pieces will be featured in a fashion installation curated by RAC Boutique, which sits alongside a headlining performance by Rufus Wainwright, a visual art installation by Nadia Belerique and Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, and a performance by Austra on the evening’s programme.
Tickets to Operanation 8 are available at operanation.ca, and all proceeds go to the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. T and I are already planning our very best opera outfits. See you there?