Sylvia Mantella, Suzanne Rogers and Brittney Kuczynski
On November 19, Toronto’s social set descended on the Royal Ontario Museum for Le Grand Bal, a black tie gala to celebrate the launch of a new Canadian cultural yearbook, Canadian Fabric, and in support of a very worthy cause, Oolagen. In its inaugural year, the event was as fabulous as one would imagine with honorary chair Suzanne Rogers, chair Sylvia Mantella and editor-in-chief Brittney Kuczynski at the helm.
The evening fêted the very first issue of Canadian Fabric, an annual publication celebrating what makes us fashionably Canadian, and the 6 philanthropists profiled in it, including Peter Gilgan, founder of Mattamy Homes; Lynn Factor, Vice Chair and Lead Director of the Children’s Aid Foundation; Cheryl McEwen, co-Founder of McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine; Lisa Ray, actress and host of ’Top Chef Canada’; P.K. Subban, defenseman with the Montreal Canadians; and Sylvia Mantella, Director of Brand Development of Mantella Corporation. To underscore the focus on philanthropy, guests were introduced to Oolagan, a youth mental health centre in Toronto to which net proceeds from the event and sale of the magazine (available at Chapters/Indigo) will be donated.
Philanthropy was on the agenda, but fashion certainly didn’t take a back seat. We spied stunning designs by Canadian talent like Erdem, Greta Constantine and Lucian Matis on the fabulous partygoers. Check out the gallery below for style snaps of uber-chic guests in gorgeous gown after gorgeous gown.
Zoomer Magazine’s Suzanne Boyd
Singer Ivana Santilli
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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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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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Christian Louboutin, Jessica Chiu and yours truly
The Christian Louboutin 20th anniversary retrospective exhibition officially bowed last week at the Design Exchange in Toronto with much fanfare. In addition to a press conference and a public appearance at Holt Renfrew, Monsieur Louboutin personally launched the exhibit at an opening night gala attended by many of the French footwear designer’s biggest fans in the city.
Guests, including actress Sarah Gadon, Smythe designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe, and newly-appointed Hudson’s Bay Company vice-chairman Bonnie Brooks, sported their favourite red-soled designs to see highlights of Louboutin’s work from the last 20 years up close and personal and have a chat with the man himself. It was an event not to be missed by a true shoe addict, so yours truly was obviously there with camera in hand and beloved Loubies on the feet.
In fact, from the Louboutin carousel to the carefully-selected footwear choices of our fellow partygoers, there was shoe candy everywhere we looked. Check out the gallery below for 23 images from the Louboutin opening gala at the DX.
Want a closer look at the exhibition? We might just be able to hook you up: we’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to give away to 5 lucky readers of The Backseat Stylers! Contest rules are below. Good luck and happy shoe gazing!
1. To enter, leave us a comment on this blog post and ‘like’ The Backseat Stylers and Design Exchange’s Facebook pages here and here.
2. For a bonus entry, follow @backseatstylers and @DesignExchange on Twitter and tweet the following: “The @backseatstylers are giving away 5 pairs of @LouboutinWorld @DesignExchange exhibit tickets, and I want in! http://bit.ly/11XKGBx #DXCL”
3. Contest closes on July 2, 2013 at midnight. Winners will be contacted via email.
4. There are no prize substitutions. Travel not included.
Sarah Gadon and Christian Louboutin
Suzanne Boyd, Suzanne Cohon and Alexandra Weston
Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman
S with Kimberly Lyn (left)
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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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“Nice jacket”: two words that literally made my week, uttered by Viktor Horsting (or was it Rolf Snoeren? It was all such a giddy blur.) to me. The jacket in question? A mustard yellow blazer with contrast black piping designed by Viktor & Rolf themselves. The Amsterdam-based duo was in town earlier this week for a very well-attended meet-and-greet with Toronto’s fashion set at The Room at The Bay.
With HBC President Bonnie Brooks and VP / Buying Director of The Room Nicholas Mellamphy as hosts and DJ Mia Moretti spinning her magic, partygoers that included the inimitable Jeanne Beker, FASHION Magazine’s EIC Bernadette Morra and socialites Stacey Kimel and Suzanne Rogers spent the evening chatting with the charming Dutch guests-of-honour, sipping on champagne and admiring the V&R wares.
Dr. Lisa Airan and PR maven Suzanne Cohon stole the sartorial show with brightly-coloured frocks, the former in an orange Carven dress with cutouts and the latter in a fuchsia Roksanda Ilincic number (last seen on Ginnifer Goodwin!). The usually cool as a cucumber blogger Anita Clarke chose a peplum Roland Mouret to meet her fashion idols, while the effortlessly chic stylist Amy Patel paired her Margiela x H&M bodysuit with denim overalls for the occasion. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention blogger Jay Strut, who showed up in a heavily embellished Balmain jacket that made our jaws drop.
Check out the gallery below for some of our favourite looks from the night.
Image Credit: George Pimentel
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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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On November 16, the Design Exchange held the inaugural DX INTERSECTION, a fundraising party in support of the Toronto design museum’s youth education and design preservation initiatives. Hundreds of attendees were treated to everything from a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind, customized IKEA items to a Food Dudes food truck serving breakfast (genius!), and much, much more. Every corner of the museum offered something new to see, do, eat. A contender for art party of the year? Most definitely.
Toronto’s fashion set, including blogger Anita Clarke, fashion director Liz Cabral (in that Margiela x H&M trompe l’oeil bra top!) and accessories designer Jenny Bird, showed up in full force to support the DX and have a little design fun. They had the opportunity to meet author and artist Douglas Coupland, winner of the DX’s very first Gamechanger award, DIY their very own fascinators at the FLARE x Milk Glass Co. booth (how fun is that?!), and stuff their faces at the late night food market (oh wait, that was me).
I sadly didn’t get a chance to check out all that the evening had to offer (in hindsight, maybe I should have spent less time munching on those to-die-for risotto balls), but I’ve certainly learned my lesson. Next year, I’m going to be the first in the door and the last one out. DX INTERSECTION just officially became one of my favourite fundraising parties of the year, and I don’t want to miss a second of the next one.
Kevin O’Neill and Liz Cabral
Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine
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On Friday, March 19, I was summoned to the brand spanking new Arcadian Loft event space atop The Bay’s Toronto flagship for the Greta Constantine Fall 2012 runway show. What I arrived at the show expecting from designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong’s latest womenswear collection was more of what the brand has come to be known for – namely, painfully chic party dresses. And by painful, I mean to those of us who can’t quite afford to fill our wardrobes with Greta, Greta and more Greta. And by “those of us”, I mean me.
But the design duo sent more than just a bevy of beautiful jewel-toned jersey dresses down the runway this season (though I never tire of those). Expanding outside of what’s been Greta Constantine’s bread and butter to date, the collection also included to-die-for knits, edgy leather-accented pieces and even catsuits, many of which I’d have happily snatched off the runway and worn right now. There was more black on the runway than in past collections, but I’m not complaining. One can never have too many gorgeously-draped LBDs or fierce black jackets in one’s closet anyway.
The collection is sure to be a hit. Pickersgill and Wong’s instantly recognizable jersey dresses, often spotted on Toronto’s charity ball circuit, are already must-haves. And it looks as though their outerwear and separates aren’t far behind.
Intermix’s Crystal Torchio and CEO Khajak Keledjian
Intermix‘s first boutique on Canadian soil launched back in August, but the US retailer only officially celebrated last night with a shindig fit for Hollywood actresses, top Canadian designers and models, all-around fabulous people and…me. Far from the civilized breakfast date I had with CEO Khajak Keledjian when the store opened its doors, yesterday’s fête replaced coffee with free-flowing wine and an audience with Keledjian with a set by rapper Theophilus London.
It was a very well-attended affair. Keledjian was there, of course, with the rest of the Intermix Toronto team, as well as his co-hosts from The Coveteur. Oh, and actress Jessica Chastain, who I missed completely somehow. The ubiquitous Greta Constantine team was out in full force, as were big name Canadian models who’ve walked the runway for them, Tara Gill and Naro Lokuruka. The other two-thirds of my “blogger troika” (dubbed as such by FASHION‘s Randi Bergman), being Styleblog.ca‘s Nelia Belkova and Stylehog.com‘s Julia Seidl, kept me thoroughly entertained until Theophilus London took over that job.
Give the gallery a gander for party photos. I spied lots of Versace for H&M, just as much Joe Fresh and even a little bit of VAWK (OK, that last one was me)…
The Fashion Collective’s Dwayne Kennedy, Greta Constantine’s Stephen Wong, and model Tara Gill
StyleBlog.ca’s Nelia Belkova and Stylehog.com’s Julia Seidl
The Souls of My Shoes’ Kimberly Lyn and Wolff Public Relations’ Lauren Wolff
Fashion Director George Antonopoulos and model Naro Lokuruka
Chatelaine’s Tyler Franch
Me and my straggly rain-ruined hair (VAWK jacket / Zara blouse and skirt / Chanel bag / YSL ring / Alexander McQueen shoes