The Room at Hudson’s Bay Fêtes Shoe Designers Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophia Webster

Yours truly with Nicholas Kirkwood

Canada’s swankiest shoe salon continues to host some of the biggest names in footwear. A mere two weeks ago it was Sam Edelman who stopped by Hudson’s Bay‘s Toronto flagship for a visit. This week? London-based designer and Backseat Stylers favourite Nicholas Kirkwood and his protégé and rising star Sophia Webster.

The city’s fashion set descended on The Room‘s shoe department – the setting for the invite-only affair and home to luxury brands like Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Olympia and Alaïa – for the chance to chat shoes and share a glass of bubbly with our guests-of-honour from across the pond. Both brought with them their latest, to-die-for offerings, which had us in serious danger of whipping out our credit cards at any given moment.

All that distracted us from spending the next year’s worth of footwear budgets that very night was the chic attendees in their Tuesday best. We’re still swooning over Suzanne Rogers‘ artful Thom Browne dress, Jenna Bitove Naumovich‘s fierce red tartan tailcoat, and Sophia Webster’s vibrant Kenzo get-up. Check out the gallery below for 33 snaps of partygoer style and – what else? – shoes, shoes and more shoes.

Bonnie Brooks and Sophia Webster

Vonna Bitove and Jenna Bitove Naumovich

Kimberly Lyn, Samantha Beckerman, yours truly, and Caillianne Beckerman

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Spotted from the Backseat: Greta Constantine Pool Party 2013 Edition

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: those Greta Constantine kids sure know how to throw a party. The design duo of Stephen Wong and Kirk Pickersgill held their 4th annual summer poolside soirée at the Toronto home of Michael Cooper and Krystal Koo last week, and it was as fabulous a night as ever before.

Dubbed “Bath, House, Steam” and inspired by Helmut Newton’s poolside works, one of the most anticipated summer shindigs on the city’s social calendar served up a sneak peek of the Greta Constantine Spring 2014 collection, an endless stream of Stoli cocktails, and delightful shenanigans like models in glamourous gowns gracefully swimming laps in the pool. No big deal.

Anita Clarke tweeted the day after the event, while presumably still basking in its afterglow, “Always thought models in gowns in a pool was 1 of those things you see in movies. Thx @gretconstantine for making it happen”. Ditto!

Greta Constantine’s Stephen Wong and muse/hostess Krystal Koo

Bloggers Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman

FASHION Magazine’s Caitlin Agnew and Paige Dzenis

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Queen’s Plate 2013 Edition

Sisi Penaloza, Anita Clarke, Vicki Hogarth, Gail McInnes and Andrea Bolley

Hats, horseshoes and bow ties, oh my! On Sunday, July 7, Woodbine Racetrack held the prestigious Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and one of the most exciting sporting and fashion events of the summer. After a month long countdown and one of the most epic contests we’ve hosted to date, we at The Backseat Stylers were delighted to finally attend our very first Queen’s Plate, and it turned out to be everything we dreamed it would be and more.

Outfitted in our chicest race day garb and exquisite fascinators by #QP2013 official milliner David Dunkley, we arrived at Woodbine for an afternoon of horse betting and street style snapping, both of which were great successes by our measure. The gents were more dapper, the ladies more fabulous, and the hats bolder and more bountiful than we’d imagined. Midnight Aria and jockey Jesse Campbell may have crossed the finish line first on the racetrack, but there were too many sartorial wins to count off the track.

We fell in love with Stylist Box co-founder Gail McInnes‘ gorgeous violet hat by Midence Oliu, adored bloggers Richard Fabregui and Marc Piercey‘s matching dapper bow ties, and were in awe of Jake Mossop‘s amazing tailcoat and top hat getup. We also oohed and aahed over iVillage style expert Sarah Francis‘ Gatsby-esque head jewels, squealed over our contest winner Kimberlee Montgomery‘s navy lace frock, and bowed down to blogger Kimberly Lyn‘s perfectly colour co-ordinated pant ensemble, which rightfully won best dressed honours from FASHION Magazine. As for our favourite headpiece of the day? Definitely the patriotic, red and white ‘O Canada’ hat – another David Dunkley creation – donned by on-duty CBC journalist Monika Platek, who doubled as our lovely Hats & Horseshoes Party host.

From cheering on our race horse picks in the grandstands to admiring fascinators in the invite-only Grey Goose Lounge, Queen’s Plate 2013 was a horse racing and fashion extravaganza, and we loved every single moment of it. Missed out on the fun this year? Don’t fret – #QP2014 will be here before you know it! In the meantime, check out the gallery below for 40 style snaps of racing fashion at its best from this year’s event.

Steven Carver, Chenessa Lam, Viktoria Szyling, Lance Chung, Sharad Mohan, Joe Reaves

CBC’s Monika Platek interviewing yours truly

Blogger Kimberly Lyn and FASHION’s Paige Dzenis

Our Queen’s Plate contest winner Kimberlee Montgomery (centre) and her BFFs

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Street Style

Spotted from the Backseat: Power Ball 2013 Edition

On June 6, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery threw its 15th annual fundraiser and Toronto’s most highly anticipated summer art party, Power Ball: 15 Minutes. Even Mother Nature and her torrential downpours couldn’t keep the city’s social set from flocking to the Harbourfront for an evening of art, fashion, and the types of shenanigans you’ll never witness at another “ball”. We’re looking at you, brave lady in her birthday suit (yes, really).

With DJs Deko-ze and Physical Therapy serving up the beats (Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ made our night) and Marc Thuet and his team supplying the eats (pulled pork sliders for the win!), we roamed from room to room, taking in the strange and wonderful art installations and partygoer style. From designer Amanda Lew Kee‘s hard-to-miss floral headdress to PR maven Susan Chong‘s summery white Greta Constantine frock to blogger Stefania Yarhi‘s voluminous floral print coat, Power Ball was a delight as usual, sartorially speaking and otherwise.

Check out the gallery below for some of our favourite looks from Power Ball: 15 Minutes. And if you’re kicking yourself for missing this year’s bash, well, you should be.

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American Express Canada Launches New Choice and ChoicePlus Cards

Photo booth fun with Nelia Belkova and Richard Fabregui

Over-the-knee stiletto boots or patent leather brogues? Python-print skinny jeans or metallic brocade skirt? My wardrobe presents me with rather critical sartorial choices on a daily basis, and, frankly, I relish in every single one I’m called to make. As a legitimate fashion addict, I enjoy debating such things as the merits of purchasing an oxblood leather doctor bag for everyday vs. a skull-clasp minaudière for evenings out, and making the decision that’s right for me and my closet, i.e. both! An equally important choice is which credit card I use to make those fabulous handbag purchases, a decision that just got a whole lot more exciting.

Chatting with chef Mark McEwan

Meet my next must-have acquisition: the new Choice or ChoicePlus Card from American Express. At the launch event on November 5, I was treated to an evening of choose-your-own-adventure fun, wherein my choices led to a night of cocktails with chef Mark McEwan at his restaurant Fabbrica, stylish caricatures and caviar manicures by The Ten Spot at Browns Shoes, and some good old fashioned shopping and photo booth shenanigans at Roots. It was a creative and clever way to remind me and the other attendees just how much fun it is to decide your own fate, sartorial or otherwise.

The likeness is uncanny

The freshly-introduced Choice and ChoicePlus Cards present me with the same power of choice that I have over my closet rotation. Where do I earn rewards? How do I redeem my points? I decide. These new offerings from American Express are designed to fit your lifestyle and unique shopping habits. You have the freedom to earn points everywhere you use your Card and the power to choose five places from over 100 retailers where you want to earn double points. As you collect your points, you have the power to choose how you’d like to use them. In other words, you can shop and earn points wherever you like and reward yourself with the things you love.

Earn double points on the purchase of a new fall/winter wardrobe at my favourite stores, and then redeem for a sunny getaway from the cold with TripFlex rewards? Sounds perfect to me! I’ve been tasked by American Express with test-driving either the Choice or ChoicePlus Card over the coming months, and I can’t wait to take it out for a spin on my upcoming holiday fashion shopping expedition. Stay tuned for my next report! In the meantime, read all about the Choice and ChoicePlus Cards here and check out this cute introductory video here.

xx, S

Sponsored by American Express Canada


The Backseat Stylers x Fashion’s Night Out 2012: Part Two – Holt Renfrew, eLUXE and More

Shopping parties are the best when raided with an equally fashion-minded sister (at The Bazaar by RAC Boutique). (Image Credit: Richard Fabregui)

And just like that, Fashion’s Night Out Toronto has come and gone, but while it was here on September 6, we sure took full advantage. It was a jam-packed evening of shopping party after shopping party, the very best kind by our measure.

We kicked off our night at Toronto Eaton Centre (check out our recap), and the FNO fun was only just beginning. Next stop? Holt Renfrew, of course, where we joined a very magenta street party complete with pink confetti, limited edition pink Diet Coke bottles and a pop-up shop selling exclusive Holt Renfrew 175th anniversary paraphernalia. There may have been some confetti throwing and dancing in the street on our part (and photographic evidence).

From there we made the short trek to Hazelton Lanes to pay The Shopping Soirée, hosted by Toronto Fashion Incubator, TNT and Fashion Cares, and the MasterCard Stylicity Lounge a visit. There we chatted with a Mary Katrantzou-clad Suzanne Rogers, ogled the Kara Ross jewels on Gail McInnes and Kelly Claman, and caught up with some of our favourite fellow fashion bloggers, including Style Blog‘s Nelia Belkova, who also chose Clover Canyon for the occasion (take a gander at our FNO outfit post). There were also tables and tables of stylish goods to covet.

Our next destination was equally full of temptation for the pocketbook. A chauffeured BMW (by the way, how sweet is that?) took us to The Bazaar by RAC Boutique. More of the city’s independent boutiques than we can name had assembled together at the Burroughes Building to offer a carefully curated selection of chic offerings. The whimsical necklaces from Foe and Dear and statement jewelery from Love of Mine, in particular, were very hard to resist.

With closing time for Fashion’s Night Out just around the corner, we made one final stop at eLUXE‘s FNO bash. There was just enough time to admire the exclusive Smythe x eLUXE tuxedo jacket and make use of the photo booth with Toronto Is Fashion‘s Richard Fabregui. Fashion’s Night Out wouldn’t have been complete without the obligatory jumping session in the photo booth – am I right or am I right?

And with that, the clock struck 11pm, FNO was done for the year, and yours truly returned to our hotel room and ordered everything off the room service menu to cap off one hell of a Fashion’s Night Out. Till next year!

Me and Nelia Belkova – Clover Canyon loving twins! (Image Credit: Richard Fabregui)

Pink lemonade at Massimo Dutti at Toronto Eaton Centre – yes please!

Live-tweeting Toronto Eaton Centre’s fabulous FNO fashion show with PR all-star Jenna Stothers.

I really, really like confetti. Especially the pink kind at Holt Renfrew’s Hot@175 street party.

Well hello there,  Gail McInnes, Glenn Dixon and Suzanne Rogers (in Mary Katrantzou!), at The Shopping Soirée at Hazelton Lanes of course.

Fabulous Kara Ross statement necklaces for all! Except me…I need to work on that.

Bloggers Richard Fabregui, Nelia Belkova, Marc Piercey, Anita Clarke and me at The Shopping Soirée at Hazelton Lanes. (Image Credit: Nelia Belkova)

Jeanne Beker at the MasterCard Stylicity Lounge. (Image Credit: Justin Charles)

Chauffeured BMW pour moi et mes fellow media types. No big deal.

Being silly with Richard at The Bazaar by RAC Boutique.

Actor Adrian Grenier and his entourage (see how we did that?) at The Bazaar by RAC Boutique. (Image Credit: Ashlea Wessel)

Working on my photo booth jumping game with T and Richard at eLUXE’s FNO event.

xx, S


Topman Summer Takeover at the Bay Toronto

Topshop continues to reign supreme at the Bay‘s Toronto flagship this summer! After the takeover of the 3rd floor by a potentially (socially) deadly combination of mojitos and a photo booth (remember these silly shots?) earlier this month, the Bay did it all over again this week in honour of the Topman pop-up shop on the 2nd floor. The city’s hipster men came out in full force to buy orange shoes, hit up the photo booth and play some ping pong.

Missed the fun? Don’t fret. Stop by the Bay Queen Street for your Topman (or Topshop) fix before summer’s end, or the Bay Yorkdale starting October 5th!

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Topshop Takes Over The Bay in Toronto

The Bay threw a bash tonight in the Topshop Summer Takeover pop-up shop, serving up only the very best in fast fashion, mojitos galore and some good old fashioned photo booth fun. Nelia, DanielaRichard and Marc and I had a ball goofing around behind the camera. In fact, I had so much fun that I now aspire to one day own a photo booth. When I do, you’re all invited to come play.

In the meantime, Toronto, get your Topshop on at the pop-up shop at The Bay on Queen Street this summer, or at The Bay in Yorkdale Shopping Centre starting October 5th!

On me: Sonia by Sonia Rykiel top / Club Monaco shorts / Gucci belt / Zara shoes / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up with Joe Fresh lipstick

xx, S


Hip Urban Girls Throw First Anniversary Fête

Wendy Kam and Lisa Ng

The lovely ladies at Hip Urban Girl, Lisa Ng and Wendy Kam, celebrated their Toronto-based blog’s one-year anniversary last week with a birthday bash at SCHOOL Bakery & Café. The duo invited their very best social media friends to join in the fun, offering up SCHOOL baked goods, Joe Fresh make-up touch-ups and bottomless Diet Coke as added incentives. I couldn’t possibly turn all that and the opportunity to spend some quality time with Lisa and Wendy down, so off to SCHOOL I went.

A Joe Fresh polish change, lots of blogger chatter and one too many cookies later, I left the party feeling like it was my birthday. Thanks Lisa and Wendy for having me, and congrats on your one-year blog anniversary!

Toronto Is Fashion‘s Marc Piercey and Richard Fabregui

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