Holt Renfrew’s Rag & Bone Bash for Designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville

Rag & Bone designers Marcus Wainwright (left) and David Neville (Image Credit: George Pimentel)

With a slew of international designers scheduled to drop by Toronto this month, Holt Renfrew threw down the gauntlet last week with a shindig in honour of Rag & Bone designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville. The third floor of the retailer’s Bloor Street flagship, home to its contemporary collections, was transformed into a party space complete with a graffiti wall.

With the design duo’s latest offerings on hand (including an incredible green leather jacket worn by Kate Moss in their Spring 2013 campaign), cotton candy and pretzel stands at the ready, and DJ Fathom spinning all the right tunes for a crowded makeshift dance floor, I had more fun that evening than at my last visit to Holt’s end-of-season sale. And that’s saying a lot, coming from a shopaholic.

It was a great night for street style spotting too – the storm raining down outside didn’t appear to deter anyone from showing up in their best Rag & Bone(-esque) duds. There were summery white frocks (take that, hail storm!), denim rolled and ripped in all the right places, and plenty of that black-and-white trend we keep hearing about. Check out the gallery below for our favourite looks from the Holt Renfrew x Rag & Bone shindig.

(Image Credit: George Pimentel)

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Spotted from the Backseat: The Frocktail Party 2012 Edition

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

Suzanne Rogers

Jenna Naumovich

My spoils of war

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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

Parlez-Vous Fashion?

Dropping by the Backseat: Jen Kirsch, Relationship Expert

Meet Jen Kirsch: Toronto-based relationship expert, television personality, columnist and blogger extraordinaire. Essentially, a real life Carrie Bradshaw, minus the pink tutu…on the day I met her, anyway. Jen and I chatted recently about puffed sleeve sequin dresses, Jonah Hill and what she thinks you should wear on a date (not the aforementioned puffed sleeve sequin dress). She even offered me her counseling services – off the record, of course. Read on for highlights from our not-so-secret rendezvous:

The Backseat Stylers: What’s the best part of your job?

Jen Kirsch: It’s two-fold. I love the idea of helping people, especially when they’re getting out of tough situations, but it’s also kind of fun to hear all the juicy details. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. My job is [also] constantly keeping me on my toes. I do individual sessions, couple sessions, and on top of that I do my column, TV appearances [and] radio appearances.

What is one of the more challenging aspects of being a relationship expert?

I’ve learned that some men are intimidated dating an expert who shares some tales. Even though some are flattered, I’ve made sure to be cautious about generalizing what I write about. I value authenticity…and wouldn’t want the person I date not to act [like] themselves because they…think I might share intimate stories.

Have you ever not taken your own advice?

Absolutely! [Earlier] this year, I was dating [someone and] I sent some under-the-influence text messages that I really regretted. I was so embarrassed the next day. I ended up pitching a segment to CityTV. It took me going through it…to realize a lot of us [drink and text], and everyone needs to know [not to]!

What’s your earliest fashion memory?

My earliest fashion memory is my sister’s Bat Mitzvah. I was the baby of the family [still am] and my mom wanted me to be the princess of the ball. I was maybe 2 or 3 years old, and I got this huge poofy dress. There was some pink and there were a lot of sequins. It was back in the 80s, so just imagine really big puffy sleeves.

How would you describe your style now?

Since [that Bat Mitzvah], I’ve had very girly taste. I’m kind of over-the-top; I always try to make a statement. I haven’t worn jeans in over a year. I find that the crazier I dress, the more creative I am. On the days that I put these weirdo outfits together, I feel more confident and I put more energy into my writing. For me, getting dressed isn’t about how I look, but how I feel.

What do you wear on dates?

I’m not going to wear what you “should” wear – [a basic, you-can't-go-wrong little black dress]. I’m going to wear something awkward or different, or a flower in my hair. A woman is her best self when she’s the most confident, so she should be wearing items that she feels comfortable in and not what she thinks other people will want her to be wearing.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I have a little thing for J.Crew. I love DVF; I think [her designs] are very loose and flirty. Lately, I’ve [also] caught myself putting things together that I inherited from my late grandmother.

If you were throwing a fashionable dance party, who would your three guests of honour be?

[Actors] Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd [and] Jason Segel. I think they would be so much fun at a dance party. I can imagine Jonah Hill throwing me over his shoulders and us just jamming out and having a good time. I’m all about sense of humour and laughter.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Cheese plates. I also have this crazy thing for beards.

xx, S

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