Paul Hardy’s 10th Anniversary Runway Show and Bash in Calgary

“It’s like Narnia out there!” said Paul Hardy, “But it’s good weather for lots of winter coats.” Spoken like a true Canadian fashion designer, and he was right. With the scenic and snowy Prince’s Island Park in Calgary as our backdrop, fashion media types from across the country had gathered at the River Café, one of the finest restaurants in the city, to kick off the 10th anniversary celebrations for Mr. Hardy last month.

Prince’s Island Park, Calgary

The designer had teamed up with Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta to fly in editors and bloggers from Toronto, including Anita Clarke of I Want – I Got, Nelia Belkova of Style BlogLisa Ng of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, and yours truly, to experience the very best Calgary has to offer, both sartorially and gastronomically.

Enjoying our first Calgary snowfall

Having checked in at Hotel Arts the night before and filled our stomachs with a delicious meal of bison and hot apple cider, among other delights, at brunch, we were off to do some sightseeing before the evening’s grand fashion show and after-party extravaganza.

Bison striploin at the River Cafe in Prince’s Island Park

“Sightseeing” for a gaggle of fashion bloggers is synonymous with “shopping”, and so we found ourselves visiting the local Holt Renfrew and The Bay department stores, wiling away the afternoon on the most frivolous of pastimes. Calgary, it turns out, has much to offer a fashion blogger with a few dollars burning a hole in her pocket.

Shopping at Holt Renfrew Calgary

Later that day, the weekend’s main festivities began, including a cocktail hour hosted by former Dragon’s Den star W. Brett Wilson (who, by the way, had Real Housewives of Vancouver‘s Mary Zilba on his arm), Paul Hardy’s Spring/Summer 2013 fashion show and, of course, an after-party attended by the who’s who of the Calgary social set.

Christopher Turner, Nelia Belkova, Stefania Yarhi, Lisa Ng, Anita Clarke and me

The runway presentation, what we were really all there for, featured an incredible line-up that ranged from fierce leather looks to jaw-droppingly gorgeous gowns, with live musical accompaniment courtesy of The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and singers Paul Brandt and Greg Sczebel.

Amongst the scrumptious food and drink, lively music, wonderful company, and snowstorm to boot, it was the fashion that stood out the most – and that’s really saying something. I went into my very first trip to Calgary knowing embarrassingly little about Paul Hardy and his work, but I left his fair city a fan. That ruffled leather top and leather pencil skirt combo? Made for me. And well worth the cross-country flight to see up close and personal.

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The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2012

Jully Black in Lauren Bagliore

Last night, the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s The Heart Truth Fashion Show took the LRD to a whole new level. Always a hit, the event featured a runway presentation of 17 Canadian female celebrities in as many red dresses – the official symbol of The Heart Truth campaign – by top Canadian designers.

Etalk’s Jessi Cruickshank opened the show in a gorgeous gown by Adrian Wu (who’s only 21 years old!), while a smoking Shannon Tweed-Simmons closed it in an Arthur Mendonça number and on the arm of husband Gene Simmons, no less (yes, that Gene Simmons!). In between, actress Ali Liebert played the bombshell role quite perfectly in a short, embellished Momo frock and singer Jully Black stole the whole damn show, dancing on the runway in a stunning Lauren Bagliore gown.

Other celebrity models included Tamara Taylor in Mark Belford, Isabelle Maréchal wearing Anne de Shalla, Catriona Le May Doan in LOVAS, Natasha Gargiulo sporting MICALLA, Divine Brown in Freda’s, Pascale Hutton wearing Paul Hardy, Susan Haskell in David Dixon, Lauren Lee Smith rocking Ines Di Santo, Liza Fromer in Mallia, Jessica Steen wearing Joeffer Caoc, Angie Seth in Thien Le, Gabrielle Rose donning Something Blue Vancouver and Lisa Ray in Farley Chatto.

And it was all for a great cause, raising awareness about the importance of heart health in women. Read more about The Heart Truth campaign and watch the complete fashion show here.

Jessi Cruickshank in Adrian Wu

Ali Liebert in Momo

Gene Simmons in Indochino and Shannon Tweed-Simmons in Arthur Mendonça

Designer Adrian Wu with celebrity model Jessi Cruickshank

xx, S


The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2011

On March 24th, the Heart & Stroke Foundation held the 2011 edition of The Heart Truth Fashion Show at The Carlu in Toronto, an event that aims to raise awareness about women’s risk for cardiovascular disease. In its fourth year, the show featured celebrity models, including actress Elisha Cuthbert and singer Deborah Cox, in one-of-a-kind red dresses by top Canadian designers like Greta Constantine and VAWK.

“We’re reaching Canadian women with this lifesaving message: it’s time to take charge of your heart health”, said Bobbe Wood, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, in a press release. “Make healthy lifestyle choices, monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and advocate for the care you need from your doctor. And to Canadian men, we say support the women you love to protect their heart health.”

The HSF found a fun and light-hearted way to convey such an important message. The celebrity models strutted, danced and shimmied down the runway in stunning one-of-a-kind creations ranging from a sexy fringed mini dress by VAWK to a glam floor-length ballgown by Ines di Santo. This fashion show was the most fun I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending, and was a great kick-off to Toronto Fashion Week!

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