Never mind the front row – backstage is where it’s at when it comes to fashion shows. I love watching as garments hanging on a rack come together as complete, fabulous looks on the models through a hurricane of activity by the designer, stylist, dressers and hair and make-up professionals. It’s a fascinating process infused with excitement and nervous energy, and I thoroughly enjoy my moments backstage as a fly on the wall. In fact, I got so caught up in it all at Lucian Matis‘ Fall 2013 presentation that I never made it to my seat, and I didn’t mind it one bit.
From the shards of glass on his one-of-a-kind dress made from Baileys bottles to the gorgeous nail art by Tips Nail Bar and the incredibly chic line-up of separates, dresses and outerwear in between, it was a pleasure seeing the collection so up close and personal. With black, ivory and grey for his colour palette, Matis’ latest efforts showed a side of his creative talent we haven’t seen before.
Minimalism wasn’t expected from the designer who’s made a name for himself through heavy-handed use of embellishments, bright colours and loud prints – to great success, I might add. And yet, the voluminous silhouettes and impeccable design details still felt distinctly Lucian Matis, making for one of my favourite of his collections to date. Not a look passed me by on its way to the runway that didn’t make me swoon.
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Krystal Koo and Suzanne Rogers at Rodarte event at The Room at The Bay
Some of my nerdiest (and more awkward) moments as a fashion blogger are those times when I’m full out freaking out about someone else’s outfit, oftentimes a chic stranger. “It’s that Mary Katrantzou dress!”, I’ll hiss to T, to the Mister (who could care less), or to no one in particular. I’ll then do that little jig where I’m pretending to be engrossed in the hors d’oeuvres spread or silent auction offerings but am really tracking said person’s movements, waiting for that opening in between bites of food or inside jokes to go in for the shot.
I always try to be polite to the individuals in the incredible ensembles, and respectful of other photographers and bloggers also trying to get the shot. Over the last 3+ years, I’ve been turned away by a would-be street style subject exactly once. Other times, I would have preferred a refusal over the scowl I saw through my camera lens; although, to be fair, this is also a rare occurrence. Most everyone I ask for a photo responds kindly and generously.
There was that time one bold face name vouched for me to another bold face name: “It’s OK – she’s cool.” The Toronto socialite stamp of approval! I was, quite honestly, delighted to be considered safe to pose for by the city’s social set. There was also that time one of Toronto’s most prolific event photographers waited very patiently for several minutes as I tried desperately to get my camera to co-operate and snap his picture. His empathy and assurance that this sort of thing happens to him too made the incident just a little less humiliating for me.
To Suzanne, Krystal, Liz, Faith, Monica, Amy, Glenna, Megan, Alesia, Ainsley, and everyone else who indulged me and my camera this year, thank you from the bottom of my fashion-obsessed heart. I can’t wait to do it all over again in 2013!
Liz Cabral at Power Ball
Monica Mei at Operanation
Alesia at Prom at the ROM
Megan Loach at Prom at the ROM
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Yours truly with presenters Glen Baxter and Hans Koechling and host Rob Lowe
On November 19, the 2012 edition of the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards were held at The Carlu in Toronto. Hosted by the extremely handsome actor and Brat Pack member Rob Lowe, the Awards brought together the biggest names in the Canadian beauty, grooming and fashion industries to honour the year’s best print and online content in 19 categories.
Stacey McKenzie and Jully Black
Assisting Lowe (who was kissed on by all the ladies who graced the stage and was a good sport about it) in presenting the Tiffany & Co. crystal trophies were familiar faces like the iconic Jeanne Beker, Greta Constantine-clad singer Jully Black, supermodel Stacey McKenzie and boxer Mary Spencer.
And the winners are…
1. Best Art Direction: Tanya Watt, FLARE
2. Best New Face: Jenna Earle, Next Models
3. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Trend/Profile (English): Adriana Ermter; FLARE, Back by Popular Demand
4. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Trend/Profile (French): Sophie St-Laurent; Châtelaine, BB La crème a tout faire
5. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Scientific/Technical (English): Michelle Villett; FLARE, Best Beauty Innovations of 2011
6. Best Beauty Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper – Scientific/Technical (French): Micheline Lortie; Châtelaine, La nature en pot
7. Best Beauty Editor of a Magazine: Lesa Hannah; FASHION Magazine
8. Best Male Grooming Feature: Greg Hudson; Sharp Magazine, The Sharp Guide to Grooming: Stepping it Up
9. Hair Stylist of the Year: Justin German
10. Best Fashion Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper (English): Sarah Nicole Prickett; FASHION Magazine, Bro Code
11. Best Fashion Feature of a Magazine or Newspaper (French): Elsa Vecchi; Dress to Kill, Spécial Design: Rad Hourani
12. Best Fashion Editor of a Magazine: George Antonopoulos, FASHION Magazine
13. Best Male Fashion Feature: Yang Goh; Sharp Magazine, Style Manual
14. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English): Sharon Ng Hayes; The Backseat Stylers
15. Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (French): Anik Lacasse-Richard; Montreal in Style
16. Best Beauty or Fashion Website: Randi Bergman, FashionMagazine.com
17. Photographer of the Year: Malina Corpadean
18. Make-up Artist of the Year: Nicolas Blanchet
19. Best Magazine Cover: Dress to Kill, Stéphane Le Duc, Winter 2011
With Kimberly Lyn in Arthur Mendonça (left) and Nelia Belkova in Lanvin x H&M (right)
You may have noticed a familiar name in there for winner of the Best Beauty or Fashion Blog (English) category: The Backseat Stylers. WOOHOO! What an incredible honour it was for us to be named finalists alongside our blogger friends Nelia Belkova of Style Blog and Lolitta Dandoy of Fashion Is Everywhere, but to win?
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“Lucian Matis is the only show I care to see,” a certain blogger declared to me last week, immediately after the runway presentation for his eponymous line. My own list of must-see shows may be a bit longer than that, but I could certainly understand why she would feel so strongly about Matis’ work. Season after season, his collections never fail to surprise and delight. In fact, as a sometimes society photographer, one of my greatest pleasures is spotting an unmistakable Matis creation from across the room. So what might my camera capture next spring?
What Matis sent down the Toronto Fashion Week runway last week was to die for, to say the least. Known to be heavy-handed with the embellishments, there was surprisingly no sequin, bead, or flower petal in sight. And yet the designs were undeniably Lucian Matis in their dramatic flair, played out in voluminous peplums rather than feathers, and beautiful mosaic prints instead of paillettes. Sans the delightful overabundance of embellishments typically found in a Matis collection, the designer’s Spring 2013 wares were no less covetable than usual.
Standout looks featured eye-catching peplum dresses in croc-embossed fabrics, one in light, airy silk and the other in dark, heavy leather. I have no doubt I’ll be seeing both of these gorgeous creations on a red carpet in the coming months.
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On October 18, the Canadian Opera Company held Operanation 9: Sweet Revenge, the 2012 edition of its annual fundraiser in support of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, its training program for young opera professionals. Operanation 8 was a fabulous fusion of music and fashion, and this year’s event was no less so. Toronto’s social set flocked to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for an evening featuring performances by none other than Canadian songbird Nelly Furtado and the 2012 Juno winner for Group of the Year the Arkells.
Vibrant prints weren’t on the dress code, but it sure looked as though it was: Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz donned a beautiful Erdem gown, FASHION Magazine‘s Paige Dzenis chose an eye-catching abstract-print frock for the occasion, and Monica Mei sported a gorgeous floral-print and sheer number of her own design. Black and white was a favourite among the chic guests as well, with Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus balancing an uncharacteristically girly lace dress with Balenciaga boots, jewelry designer Jenny Bird stepping out in a frilly lace top and suspendered pants, and actress Gabrielle Miller looking downright stunning in a design by Lucian Matis.
Operanation 9 was both a feast for the eyes and the ears. How will the COC top it next year? I can’t wait to find out.
Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and Rac Boutique’s Faith Orfus
AIME designer Monica Mei
Jewelry designer Jenny Bird and guest
FASHION Magazine’s Paige Dzenis
Actress Gabrielle Miller
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Katy Perry in VAWK
Tonight’s Much Music Video Awards red carpet brought a few pleasant surprises in the form of black, black and more black. I shrieked aloud when I spotted Katy Perry in a stunning gown from VAWK‘s Resort 2012 collection, and then again when I recognized Nelly Furtado‘s to-die-for dress from Lucian Matis‘ Fall 2012 runway show. What a great night for Canadian fashion! Rounding out our best dressed list is Carly Rae Jepsen, who donned a sexy double-slit dress and Dannijo statement necklace.
Did you watch the MMVAs? Who else has “Call Me Maybe” stuck in their head for the 17th day in a row?
Nelly Furtado in Lucian Matis
Carly Rae Jepsen
Images via Just Jared, Bell Media
There are jackets, and then there are jackets. My Lucian Matis sample sale find most definitely falls into the latter category. It’s perfectly over-embellished, in that Lucian Matis way, and by far one of the most mind-blowingly beautiful pieces in my closet. I could stare at it for hours, live in it for ever. It’s that kind of jacket.
I wore it, quite befittingly, to Matis’ breathtaking Fall 2012 runway show during Toronto Fashion Week. One thing was clear as I left the show sporting my very first ever Lucian Matis acquisition: I’m going to be needing a whole lot more.
Lucian Matis blazer / Burberry shirt / Elise Overland pants / Brian Atwood boots / Céline bag / YSL ring / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up
World Mastercard Fashion Week, Toronto’s official fashion week, officially kicked off on Monday, March 11 with none other than Lucian Matis, the Project Runway Canada alumnus turned couturier, almost. ” I wouldn’t call myself a couturier because I’m not, but it’s all hand done, it’s very organic, it’s very labour intensive,” said the designer of the latest collection for his eponymous line.
Presented in the grand setting of the Fairmont Royal York’s ballroom, Matis’ breathtaking Fall 2012 collection – couture or not – set the bar impossibly high for the rest of the week. As with every Lucian Matis collection to date, there was high drama. The regal backdrop was the perfect stage for the stunning stream of models that glided past in black lace and feather-embellished gowns, styled impeccably from their braids to their intricate nail art to their shoes.
Each gown was more stunning than the last, and drew me further and further into the deliciously dark fantasy world that Matis had created. When the last model turned the corner out of sight, there wasn’t a woman in that room, I’m certain, who wasn’t daydreaming about donning one of those gorgeous dresses for a glamourous night on the town. In fact, I must confess that I’m still in that wonderful dream.
Image Credits: Featured photos by The Backseat Stylers, all others by Jenna Marie Wakani
Andrej Pejic is on the cover of FASHION Magazine‘s upcoming February 2012 issue. That fact alone is epic enough; the androgynous (male) model looks downright fabulous in that frothy tulle dress, hence the cover making the rounds on the Internet this week. But what blew me away even more than the stunning cover image was the realization that the gorgeous design Pejic is wearing is the very one I watched come down the runway at Lucian Matis‘ recent Spring 2012 presentation.
I’m a huge fan of Matis’ work, so seeing his dress on a big name model like Andrej Pejic – on the cover of FASHION, no less – has me feeling rather proud. Congrats to the FASHION team on a beautiful cover, and kudos for spotlighting one of Canada’s finest in such a big way. More of this please!
UPDATE: Pejic’s editorial for FASHION is out, and the 11-page spread is full of looks from Canadian designers like Greta Constantine, Calla Haynes and even Joe Fresh! Fantastic work by fashion director George Antonopoulos.
Cover image via Styleite, editorial images via Design Scene