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 November 14, over 600 guests attended Frocktail Party 2012 in Toronto in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Many of the city’s most fashionable flocked to the Arcadian Loft for an evening of silent auctions featuring designer dresses and accessories generously donated by celebrities like socialite Suzanne Rogers and supermodel Monika Schnarre, talented Canadian designers including Greta Constantine, ela, and Jeremy Laing, and retailers like eLUXE and The Bay.
This 4th annual event achieved a record-breaking auction this year, raising $30,000 for a total of over $55,000 for the evening. As a shopaholic who quite enjoys the thrill of a good silent auction, I quite happily contributed to that total. At the end of the night, I returned home the victor of two battles, having successfully snagged a pair of Greta Constantine x ALDO Shoes ankle booties from the Fall 2011 runway for me and a one-year men’s spa membership to John Allan’s for the Mister. All in the name of charity, of course.
I did, however, leave an absolutely to-die-for tree-print jersey dress by Alexander McQueen behind, which I’m still in mourning over. Other incredible pieces up for auction included a Proenza Schouler clutch donated by INTERMIX, a Smythe jacket courtesy of eLUXE, and runway frocks by Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta and Mary Katrantzou, straight from the closet of Suzanne Rogers. She herself donned a lovely violet-hued number for the occasion, as did a stunning Ainsley Kerr, who wore a beautiful fringed gown. Socialite Jenna Naumovich also showed her support for the JDRF’s cause, arriving in a gorgeous Peter Pilotto runway dress.
With incredible frocks on Frocktail Party’s guests and enticing pieces up for auction, it’s a miracle I didn’t come out of the silent auction shenanigans with more damage to the pocketbook than I did. Come next year, though, I’ll be more than ready for the bidding wars for the latest from Ms. Rogers’ unbelievable wardrobe.
That McQueen tree-print dress (right) I really, really wanted to win
My spoils of war
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I love Toronto, and can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. Over the last few years, I’ve been exploring more and more of my beloved city, and have been blown away by all that is has to offer. When JACOB asked me to share my favourite TO hot spots for their Live Chic fall style guide, coming up with a short list was quite the challenge.
Curious about the 4 must-visit destinations I finally settled on for a perfect Sunday in autumn? Click on over to jacob.ca to read all about hanging out at the Harbourfront Centre, dining at Origin, and shopping at Toronto Eaton Centre and The Bay‘s Queen Street flagship. You’ll also find arts, entertainment, food and shopping recommendations from fellow Toronto bloggers Anita Clarke of I Want – I Got, Nelia Belkova of Style Blog, Stefania Yarhi of Textstyles, and Sarah Francis of Real Life Runway.
Enjoy! And don’t forget to call me when you stop by Origin for dinner. I’m going to want a bite of your chinois duck taco.
I met Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie, an online magazine for teenage girls, and it was literally the best thing ever.
Tavi and Toronto-based Rookie contributors Petra Collins, a photographer, and Anna Fitzpatrick and Hannah Johnson, both writers, were at the Rookie Yearbook One reading and signing at Indigo Books in Toronto this past Saturday, and were met by dozens of eccentrically dressed and D.I.Y.-capable girls. Rookie Yearbook One is a printed publication that not only includes articles, interviews, photo editorials, and illustrations from the online magazine Rookie, but also has a page of important stickers (of a slice of pizza, a planet, bows, etc.), a gemstone-and-lips-and-breakfast-food-printed paper crown, and a flexidisc (had to google that…ugh, I’m so uncool) with songs by Supercute! and the Dum Dum Girls.
Rookie is blessed with a wonderfully diverse selection of contributors – including delightful famous people like Karen Elson, Paul Rudd, and Zooey Deschanel – who address issues that are both specific to many teenage girls but also relevant to those outside that category. I myself am no longer an adolescent – thank god – but often end up spending hours at a time on Rookie, reading one article after another about universal issues like bullying, body image, and tips on how to cure a crappy mood. There’s also a lot of light and fun stuff like fashion editorials, D.I.Y. guides, and makeup tutorials, but what makes Rookie so special is that it is intensely personal, and every story feels like something only a good friend who trusts you would tell you.
At the reading and signing on Saturday, Tavi shared her brilliant “How to Bitchface” tutorial, which is important information for everyone to know. The variation I use most frequently is the simple but effective Repulsed Bitchface, but Tavi goes over more advanced ones as well. Anna Fitzpatrick read an abridged version of “On the Outside Looking Out,” a highly relatable narrative about the difficulties she experienced trying to fit in and be ‘cool’ in high school.
Afterward, I got to meet Hannah, Anna, Petra, and Tavi, who all wrote sweet messages in my book like “You’re awesome!” They were so cool that I almost wish I could be a teenager again, if only to be able to consult the Rookie Yearbook One during my fashion crises, decorate my binder with some pizza stickers, and put on that gemstone-and-lips-and-breakfast-food-printed paper crown when I’m feeling ordinary.
Nelia Belkova of Style Blog, Toronto
Is there a better way to make a sartorial impression than with a punch of red? I should think not, for it seems that whenever I wear a plain bright red toque of mine someone will always surprisingly declare, “I love your hat!” S recently wore a stunning red lipstick that everyone was obsessed with. An impressed makeup artist – whom I would expect to know everything there is to know about makeup – drilled S about it, while a curiously informed gentleman attempted to guess the brand.
This week, Nelia showcased the colour of the season – oxblood red – with her gorgeous FLARE x ALDO handbag and her elegant MOON Apparel crepe dress. Two looks from one blogger in the same edition of the Lookbook is a first; we just adored the ensembles too much not to include them both!
Looking equally chic was Anik in her burgundy sweater, black midi skirt, leopard-print scarf and camel suede boots – all the elements of a perfect fall getup. Brighter shades of red were no less popular, with Bianca donning cute red socks and M’C Kenneth sporting one of the most beautiful watches I’ve ever seen.
Caillianne Beckerman of Beckerman Bite Plate, Toronto
Bianca Venerayan of Kastor & Pollux, Toronto
Gracie Carroll of Gracie Carroll, Toronto
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After months of speculation and prayers to the shopping gods, Nordstrom has (finally!) officially announced the opening of the company’s first four locations in Canada. The Seattle-based retailer held a press conference in Toronto today to outline its plans to partner with Cadillac Fairview on its first stores north of the border at Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, and Rideau Centre in Ottawa.
The Sherway Gardens location will be a newly-constructed store, while the others are former Sears sites that will be vacated this fall and renovated by Nordstrom. The new locations are tentatively scheduled to open as follows:
- Chinook Centre, Calgary: two levels, approximately 140,000 square feet in Fall of 2014
- Rideau Centre, Ottawa: two levels, approximately 157,000 square feet in Spring of 2015
- Pacific Centre, Vancouver: three levels, approximately 230,000 square feet in Spring of 2015
- Sherway Gardens, Toronto: two levels, approximately 138,000 square feet in Fall of 2016
Not soon enough by my measure, but we’ve waited this long already, so what’s another few years? For our patience, we may just be rewarded with a few more stores: Nordstrom also announced that it will continue working on further expansion opportunities for both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack (yes!) in Canada in the future.
Excited? You have good reason to be. Nordstrom was recently named the top American luxury retailer in a consumer survey, no doubt as a result of its legendary customer service. Between accepting a customer’s return of car tires that Nordstrom obviously doesn’t sell and driving to the airport to deliver packages accidentally left behind by a visiting shopper, popular tales of the department store chain’s exemplary customer service are both unbelievable and entirely true. In addition to its famously accommodating return policy, Nordstrom also price matches its competitors and throws very generous sales.
“It’s exciting to finally have this opportunity to better serve our Canadian customers closer to home and we can’t wait to open our doors,” said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom, Inc. in a press release. We can’t wait until you open your doors either, Nordstrom. And now with target dates officially announced, we can mark our calendars and start counting down the days!
Image via Retail Week
Addicted to Zara? It’s time for you to meet her sister, Massimo Dutti. Already available in 53 countries, the Spain-based chain, owned by Zara’s parent Inditex, opened up its very first North American location last week in Toronto, with two more in Washington, D.C. and New York City to follow. The new Toronto Eaton Centre boutique features a well-curated selection of the brand’s men’s and women’s apparel, shoes and accessories, all designed for the city sophisticate.
Intrigued? You should be. While Zara’s offerings are always impressively on trend, Massimo Dutti’s designs are refreshingly classic and versatile. Price points are higher than at Zara, but so is the quality. The latest collections are filled with chic pieces that can be worn this upcoming fall and many thereafter without looking dated or falling apart.
In other words, this isn’t where you go to meet your colour-blocked, leather-trimmed, stud-embellished needs. Instead, Massimo Dutti is where you’ll find that perfect knitted poncho, sharp blazer or to-die-for leather jacket you won’t stop wearing this fall, the next, or even the one after that.
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Fashion’s Night Out is coming to Canada! According to Toronto Life, the City of Toronto has confirmed rumours that Vogue and the CFDA are finally bringing their global, after-hours shopping party north of the border.
Mark your calendars, folks – the 4th edition of FNO will be on September 6, 2012! And we suggest you start saving up now for the exclusive one-night-only offerings and preparing for the possibility of karaoke night with your favourite fashion personalities.
The list of participating retailers will be released in mid-August, so watch this space!
New retailers to sign on for Fashion’s Night Out Toronto continue to be revealed! Get set to hit up FNO festivities at Aime by Monica Mei, City of Toronto, Cole Haan, Comrags, eLUXE.ca, H&M, Holt Renfrew, INTERMIX, Juicy Couture, THE BAZAAR by RAC Boutique, The Peacock Parade, Toronto Fashion Incubator and Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Details of each retailer’s event are available on Fashion’s Night Out’s official website.
FNO is also coming to Chatham and Cookstown in Ontario, Vancouver (delightfully long list of confirmed retailers already!) and Surrey in British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec. Participating retailers can be found on the Fashion’s Night Out’s website.
Check out our guide to the must-visit shopping parties for Fashion’s Night Out Toronto!
Image via Bergdorf Goodman
How’s that for foreshadowing? Just yesterday in our post about Jason Wu’s new contemporary line, Miss Wu, we lamented the lack of Nordstrom locations north of the border. Mere hours later, The Globe and Mail reported that Nordstrom is finalizing plans to open its first department stores in Canada in the next few years – not one, not two or even three, but four of them! This, my dear fellow Nordstrom fans, is a shopaholic’s dream come true.
According to “industry sources”, Nordstrom will be launching at Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary and Rideau Centre in Ottawa, three of which are former Sears sites. The Seattle-based retailer is said to be awaiting approval of the expansion from its board of directors. The news has yet to be confirmed by either Nordstrom or Cadillac Fairview, but I’m already celebrating.
Rumour has it that Nordstrom is, not surprisingly, also keen to set up shop in both Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. However, with Sears uninterested in letting go of its TEC store and Yorkdale’s owners Oxford Properties reportedly insisting on a package deal with a Square One Shopping Centre location, this may not happen in the near term.
Nevertheless, the department store that recently topped a consumer survey of American luxury retailers – beating out Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and even Bergdorf Goodman, I might add – is coming to a Canadian city (hopefully) near you.
With it, Nordstrom brings a stellar designer list that at its U.S. locations includes everything from Gucci to Alexander Wang to Kensie; their incredibly generous Half-Yearly Sales and legendary Anniversary Sale featuring products exclusive to Nordstrom; a price matching policy I’ve had the pleasure of taking advantage of in the past (on a pair of Christian Louboutins, no less); and an unparalleled return policy with no time limit (seriously!). Essentially, Nordstrom is customer service at its finest, which will be a breath of fresh air in Canada’s luxury market. The Bay and Holt Renfrew, who will be directly affected by Nordstrom’s arrival, should take note.
I’ve been patiently waiting for years for a U.S. luxury department store chain to come north of the border, but suddenly Nordstrom can’t come soon enough. How excited are you, Canada? Because yours truly is on a high right now that’s usually only reserved for new shoe acquisitions.
UPDATE (Sept. 13, 2012):
The news has finally been confirmed! Read all the details of the new Nordstrom store openings in Canada here.
Image via Retail Week
On July 11, Toronto’s social set descended on the Design Exchange to fete its joint exhibition with The National Ballet of Canada, 60 Years of Designing The Ballet. Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker, FASHION Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra (in Marni for H&M!) and Katrantzou-clad socialite Kara Alloway were among the gala attendees who spent the evening toasting the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary and admiring costumes and set pieces from its archives.
Curated by costume designer Caroline O’Brien, the exhibit features special items from past productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Emergence and more, going as far back as the 1950s. Also on display is The Tutu Project, 60 stunning, one-of-a-kind tutus created by Canadian fashion designers, artists and children alike in honour of the National Ballet’s big 6-0.
The exhibition runs from July 11 to September 2, 2012. For more information, visit www.dx.org.
Glen Baxter, Shauna Levy, Jeanne Beker, Christine Faulhaber
FASHION Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra
Jewellery Designer Shay Lowe
Image Credits: Peter Chatterton