Inside the Inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards: 70 Red Carpet Photos of Coco Rocha, DSquared2, Jeanne Beker and More

Model of the Year winner Coco Rocha with multiple award winners DSQUARED2′s Dean and Dan Caten

On Saturday, February 1, the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) were held at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, where a venerable who’s who of the Canadian fashion industry flocked to honour its brightest stars. The first of its kind in our fair nation, CAFA’s raison d’être is to recognize outstanding achievement and emerging talent in the fashion community, and this past weekend’s incredible awards gala was certainly a long time coming.

Emerging Talent Award winner Sarah Stevenson and Elisha Cuthbert

In between comedic interludes by master of ceremonies Gerry Dee and a musical performance by JRDN, the first ever CAFA winners were revealed at the highly-anticipated awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the immensely talented winners and nominees:

Womenswear Designer of the Year: 

  • Christie Smythe & Andrea Lenczner, SMYTHE
  • Denis Gagnon
  • Jeremy Laing – Winner
  • Kimberely Newport-Mimran, Pink Tartan
  • Kirk Pickersgill & Stephen Wong, Greta Constantine

Menswear Designer of The Year: 

  • Davidson Manaloto, wings + horns
  • Philippe Dubuc
  • Philip Sparks
  • Travis Taddeo – Winner
  • Shawn Hewson, Bustle

Outstanding Achievement: 

  • David Dixon
  • Dean & Dan Caten, DSQUARED2 – Winner
  • Denis Gagnon
  • Lida Baday
  • Marie Saint-Pierre

Accessory Designer of the Year nominee Jenny Bird and Stylist of the Year winner George Antonopoulos

Accessory Designer of The Year:  

  • Dexter & Byron Peart, WANT Les Essentials de la Vie – Winner
  • Ela & Martin Aldorsson, Ela Handbags
  • John Fluevog
  • Jenny Bird
  • Maryam Keyhani

Canadian Style Award: 

  • Coco Rocha
  • Joe Mimran – Winner
  • Lisa Tant

Image Maker of the Year:

  • Chris Nicholls – Winner
  • Stephanie Mark, Jake Rosenberg, The Coveteur
  • Gabor Jurina
  • Max Abadian
  • Tommy Ton

Vanguard Award honouree Jeanne Beker and Stacey McKenzie

International Designer of the Year: 

  • Dean & Dan Caten, DSQUARED2 – Winner
  • Erdem Moralioğlu
  • Jeremy Laing
  • Jason Wu
  • Mark Fast

Stylist of the Year:

  • Cary Tauben
  • George Antonopoulos – Winner
  • Liz Cabral
  • Peter Papapetrou
  • Susie Sheffman

Model of the Year: 

  • Coco Rocha – Winner
  • Daria Werbowy
  • Yasmin Warsame

Suzanne and Chloe Rogers

Emerging Talent Award: 

  • Beaufille
  • Eliza Faulkner
  • Laura Siegel
  • Martin Lim
  • Sarah Stevenson – Winner
  • Sid Neigum
Emerging Talent Award winner Sarah Stevenson, who also won the 2013 TFI New Labels competition, took home a $10,000 cash prize sponsored by Atelier Swarovski, an exclusive mentorship program with Joe Fresh, and a Spring/Summer 2015 look book produced by THE COLLECTIONS. The inimitable Jeanne Beker was also recognized with the Vanguard Award for her 27-year run as the host of Fashion Television, a strong influence on so many in the room that night and around the world, as well as her many other pursuits in the industry over the years.

Sylvia Mantella with Greta Constantine’s Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong

Canada’s top fashion talent was celebrated both on stage and off, and we were delighted to be surrounded by stunning red carpet ready creations by homegrown designers. With the likes of Coco Rocha, socialite Suzanne Rogers, sponsor Sylvia Mantella and model Stacey McKenzie leading the way in DSQUARED2, Erdem, Greta Constantine and VAWK respectively, the Canadian fashion set absolutely turned it out for the industry’s biggest night of the year.

Accessory Designer of the Year nominee Maryam Keyhani

Check out the gallery below for 70 – yes 70! – style snaps from the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. Congrats to all the 2014 CAFA winners and nominees, and to the CAFA team for an outstanding first year!

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You’re Invited: Shop The Backseat Stylers’ Closet at The Blogger Bazaar on Sunday, August 18!

Spend just a minute on The Backseat Stylers, and one fact should be abundantly clear: we are serious shopaholics. And shoe addicts. Who happen to be obsessed with J.Crew and Mary Katrantzou and Charlotte Olympia. In fact, our joint closet is embarrassingly overflowing with more black blazers, printed silk blouses and footwear of all kinds than we could ever need. And guess what? It’s time to purge!

We’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with some of our favourite blogger and fashion industry friends to bring you THE BLOGGER BAZAAR, the chicest closet sale to ever hit Toronto, if we may say so ourselves.

WHAT: From cheap and cheerful fast fashion offerings to high-end designer wares, brand-spanking new items with tags attached to preloved vintage pieces, be ready to shop the closets of Nelia Belkova of Style Blog, Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes, Hawley Dunbar of Sidewalk Hustle, Gracie Carroll of, Liane Fong of The Lost Sea, Monica Mei of Aime, Jessica Chiu of Ever After Lacquer, and yours truly.

You’ll also want to snag an amazing gift bag with purchase (quantities limited), featuring products and gift cards from some of our favourite brands and retailers. Joe Fresh, H&M, eLUXE, FLARE, ALDO, Civello Rosedale, Unilever, Aime by Monica Mei and John Frieda all in one epic swag bag!

And if that’s not enough to keep you delightfully occupied, Civello Rosedale‘s on-site styling station will be providing complimentary hairstyling (think summery braids and top knots!) and make-up touch-ups. We’ll also be giving away a fabulous $250 makeover, including highlights, haircut and make-up application, to one lucky guest who tweets with the #BloggerBazaarTO hashtag.

WHO: Open to all of our lovely readers! RSVP here and get your ticket ($2 charitable donation in support of Unity Charity for entry) here.

WHERE: Aime Showroom Boutique, 198A Davenport Road (at Avenue Road), Toronto.

WHEN: Sunday, August 18, 2013, 1:00-5:00pm.

HOW: Cash only. No bartering, except maybe for designer shoes in size 36. (Just kidding)

HASHTAG: #BloggerBazaarTO

Mark your calendars, ladies and gents! It’s going to be a shopping extravaganza you won’t want to miss. See you there!

Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Our 10 Favourite Looks of 2012!

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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Spotted from the Backseat: Operanation 2012 Edition

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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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Three Years of Style at the Thompson Toronto Rooftop Lounge

We’re always reporting on the most stylish looks at the swankiest shindigs in Toronto, and we finally have the opportunity to do the same for our own inaugural event, Three Years of Style, co-hosted with Nelia Belkova of Style Blog and Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes on August 7 at the Thompson Toronto Rooftop Lounge. With $650 worth of prizes on the line in our style contest, guests showed up in their Tuesday evening rooftop party best, and we just couldn’t stop snapping.

Attendees brought their sartorial A game, and we’d expected no less from the most stylish blog readers and supporters out there. Glam Canada Editorial Director (and grand prize winner!) Aya McMillan‘s Clover Canyon printed pairing was a unanimous favourite, but the decision wasn’t easy with runners-up Jessica Chiu in fierce neon orange Christopher Kane and Liane Fong in a lovely mint green, pleated confection.

Also showing up in style were Hamilton-based blogger Jentine Gootjes of My Edit in a lovely lace frock, The Genteel Editor-in-Chief Mona Chammas in a geeky chic get-up, and PR extraordinaire Vanessa Morcom in a fabulous coral ensemble. Rocking impressive arm parties and sky-high stilettos, ours was one of the most stylish crowds the Thompson rooftop has seen.

Admittedly, that put a bit of pressure on us as hosts. What do we wear to throw one of the biggest blog bashes of the year, to be attended by many of Toronto’s most sartorially gifted? After much deliberation, S donned a summery white frock by Judith & Charles, and accessorized with Marni for H&M jewelry and – what else?Christian Louboutin pumps. T stuck to her staples for this summer: green skinny jeans, a crisp white shirt and sharp burgundy brogues.

What did you wear to Three Years of Style? Check out the gallery below for 28 style snaps from the Thompson rooftop – you might just spot your stylish self. Missed out on the fun this time? Give our event recap a read and start counting down until next year’s soiree!

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RAC Boutique “All Things Vivienne Westwood” Event

On April 8, 2011, RAC Boutique in Toronto held their “All Things Vivienne Westwood” event to launch the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Spring 2011 collection. For the party, co-owners Glenna Weddle and Faith Orfus worked with stylist George Antonopoulos and hair artist Sandy Ciuro to create an installation featuring mannequins with Dame Westwood’s signature red hair and donning pieces from the latest Anglomania collection. The styling was genius, even incorporating a FALLON cuff I’m now lusting after. Kudos to RAC for an inspired installation and fantastic event!

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