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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Megan Loach and Tracy Briggs
Canadian Stage hosted its annual fundraising gala, Theatre Ball, in Toronto last week in celebration of its 25th anniversary. With CTV’s Seamus O’Regan serving as master of ceremonies and the guest list including the likes of actor Jason Priestley and actress/comedian Caroline Rhea, the black tie soirée raised over $300,000 in support of Canadian Stage’s artistic programming, development activities and education and youth initiatives.
Many of the city’s most fashionable descended on The Carlu for the dinner, live auction, and opportunity to schmooze with Priestley, former Beverly Hills 90210 star and childhood crush of mine. Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz showed up in a printed Mary Katrantzou frock, The Bay’s Megan Loach donned a turquoise Emanuel Ungaro gown, and FASHION Magazine‘s Randi Bergman chose a cheeky Margiela at H&M ensemble for the occasion.
FASHION Magazine’s Randi Bergman (left) and Paige Dzenis with Jason Priestley
Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and Tatiana Read
Seamus O’Regan and Steve Doussis
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Knot PR’s Amy Burstyn-Fritz and author Helen Burstyn
On February 7, over 600 of Canada’s most avid readers and top literary talent gathered at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto for the 8th annual The Book Lover’s Ball. The likes of Conrad Black, Jian Ghomeshi and actress Sonja Smits turned out for the black tie gala in support of the Toronto Public Library. Hosted by Cityline‘s Tracy Moore, the evening featured a gourmet dinner, the requisite silent and (almost, in this case) live auctions, and post-dinner entertainment inspired by Canadian novels.
Between chatting about things that go bump in the night with psychological thriller author Jennifer Hillier and taking in mini fashion shows featuring designs by Lucian Matis and Starkers Corsetry, we left the event photography to the pros this time around. George Pimentel snapped the lovely Melissa Fishman in an embellished blush gown, one of our gala style favourites Elly Barlin-Daniels in a sleek black number, and the stunning duo of Amy Burstyn-Fritz and her mother and author Helen Burstyn also in their black tie best.
Chatelaine’s Leanne Doolan
Cityline’s Tracy Moore and author Vincent Lam
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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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Soho House’s Markus Anderson and FLARE Magazine’s Liz Cabral
On November 8, 2012, The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Yorkville boutique George C hosted the 2nd Annual Lunch with Margaret & George at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto. Surrounded, quite literally, by lovely ladies who lunch decked out in their noon-hour finest, the charity function was one of the swankiest and most fashionable meals I’ve had the good fortune of enjoying in some time.
The highlight of the event came when, just before dessert, guests were treated to a presentation of Derek Lam‘s Spring 2013 runway collection. Though the New York-based designer himself was unfortunately unable to attend as planned (Mother Nature had other, snow-filled plans for him), his pieces, inspired by Barkley L. Hendricks paintings from the 1970s, thankfully made it to the luncheon for our viewing pleasure. And pleased we were, with the very covet-worthy line-up of ready-to-wear, handbags and shoes that we got to see up close and personal.
Canadian fashion industry heavyweights like FLARE Magazine‘s new editor-in-chief Miranda Purves, her counterpart at FASHION Magazine Bernadette Morra, Holt Renfrew’s Lisa Tant and FLARE fashion director Liz Cabral lent their support to the very worthy cause and stylish event. By the time the last morsel of food was consumed, over $150,000 had been raised in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. A very productive working lunch indeed.
FLARE Magazine’s Miranda Purves (centre) with George C owners Lisa and George Corbo
Models line up in preparation for the Derek Lam Spring 2013 presentation
Holt Renfrew’s Lisa Tant
FASHION Magazine’s Bernadette Morra
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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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On September 22, Canada’s Walk of Fame held its annual gala in honour of this year’s inductees. As Team Canada 1972, musician Randy Bachman, the late actor Phil Hartman, CFL star Russ Jackson, singer Sarah McLachlan and ballet dancer Sonia Rodriguez received their shiny new stars, yours truly diligently captured the evening’s most stylish.
From the inductees themselves, like the elegant Sonia Rodriguez in a blush-coloured gown and on the arm of husband Kurt Browning, to gala attendees, including actress Jill Hennessy in a LBD from Cynthia Rowley’s Resort 2013 collection and TV host Liza Fromer in a draped violet creation by Greta Constantine, the Canada’s Walk of Fame red carpet never looked so stylish.
2012 Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee Sonia Rodriguez
Television host Liza Fromer in Greta Constantine
Actress Jill Hennessy in Cynthia Rowley Resort 2013
Me in VAWK Resort 2012
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Catriona Le May Doan and me
On September 21, Toronto played host to the 2012 Olympic Heroes Parade and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala. Having spent 17 days of my summer cheering on the Canadian Olympic team at the London 2012 Summer Games and feeling like I was practically BFFs with each and every one of our athletes already, I knew I had to be there for the celebrations. Besides, I wanted to see for myself whether on-field prowess translates into off-field sartorial genius. I wasn’t disappointed.
Speed skating legend Catriona Le May Doan chose a golden (the very best Olympic colour) mini dress for her gala co-hosting duties with Ben Mulroney. Kaylyn Kyle, a midfielder on the women’s Olympic soccer team donned a LBD and statement necklace, which she wore in favour of her bronze medal, for the occasion. The men were on top of their sartorial game too. Swimmer and bronze medal winner in the 100-metre freestyle Brent Hayden looked incredibly dapper in a classic black tuxedo and matching bow tie.
Outfits aside, it was a truly epic night, as wrestler Daniel Igali, freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard, synchronized swimming coach Julie Sauve, cross-country skier Beckie Scott, the late Sarah Burke, the 2006 women’s Olympic hockey team and the 2010 men’s Olympic hockey team were all inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. “I grew up being told by my grandmother that dreams should be a size too big so we could fit into them,” Igali told gala guests. Thanks to him, my lovely seatmate and javelin thrower Liz Gleadle, and the other inspiring athletes in attendance, I’m now dreaming bigger dreams too.
About to take a bite out of Kaylyn Kyle’s Olympic bronze medal
Divers taking a break from the pool for a walk down the red carpet
Me and swimmer Brent Hayden
Me and soccer player Kaylyn Kyle
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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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