We love getting all gussied up for big events here at The Backseat Stylers, and there’s no bigger occasion for us this summer than last week’s Queen’s Plate. On a day when the dress code called for fancy fascinators and chic frocks, our philosophy was simple: go big or go home.
Literally, it seems, which explains S’s predilection for extremely oversized headpieces. She got a taste for large hats at our first Queen’s Plate last year, and would’ve had a tough time topping that sartorial outing if not for the incredibly talented David Dunkley, official milliner of the Queen’s Plate and purveyor of the gorgeous (and ginormous!) floral headpiece S sported. T, on the other hand, went for a more understated fascinator, opting instead to make a bold statement with her eye-catching metallic candy wrapper clutch and reflective sunglasses.
Both of us donned black and white with pops of metallic silver; save for the giant blue flowers atop S’s head, of course. S’s floral-on-floral getup was a nod to favourite Mary Katrantzou, while T repped Canadian in a dramatic VAWK vest. Our looks complemented each other rather nicely, though admittedly accidentally.
With yet another set of tastefully over-the-top Queen’s Plate ensembles under our belts, our #QP15 garb will have to be even bigger and bolder. Thank goodness we have a year to prepare ourselves.
On S: David Dunkley fascinator / Mary Katrantzou dress / Prada shoes / Chanel clutch
On T: David Dunkley fascinator / VAWK vest / Zara shorts / Alexander Wang shoes / Maison Martin Margiela for H&M clutch
Image Credits: Mauricio Calero, Becca Lemire for She Does The City
Sometimes events are so good, they deserve not one, but two posts, and the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards held this past weekend in Toronto is definitely one such occasion. Yesterday, we posted a recap of the evening with 70 red carpet style snaps. Today, I’ve got my own little photo diary with favourite moments from the gala.
It doesn’t capture that time I creepily told Yasmine Warsame that I loved her in the Fairmont Royal York elevator (but, seriously, I do), the excitement of chatting 24 with Kim Bauer herself a.k.a tablemate Elisha Cuthbert, or the sheer glee of having Atelier Swarovski jewels flown in from New York just for little old me. It also doesn’t quite capture how much pride I felt for George Antonopoulos, Sarah Stevenson and all the other CAFA winners and nominees. But it’ll have to do.
So much love and thanks to the wonderful folks at Atelier Swarovski for the invite and for the most glamourous jewels I could have dreamed up for my CAFA look. I felt like Cinderella, and the night wouldn’t have been the same without my fairy godmother Rory. CAFA 2014 was an important moment in Canadian fashion history and it was an incredible honour to have been in attendance.
Invitation in hand and gold Gucci shoes at the ready
Atelier Swarovski pieces flown in from New York by our fairy godmother Rory (clockwise from top left): SS14 in-house collection necklace/ring/bracelet set; SS14 in-house collection stacked cocktail rings; vintage Atelier Swarovski Dori Csengari necklace and cuff; vintage Atelier Swarovski Mary Katrantzou cuff
Yours truly with my tablemate
Kim Bauer Elisha Cuthbert, both decked out in Atelier Swarovski
Clutch game: YSL and Falconwright
Vintage Atelier Swarovski Erickson Beamon cuff worn by Jane Hanrahan of Power of Prive
With the best date a girl could ask for, Nelia Belkova of Style Blog (and her insanely gorgeous Erdem gown!)
CAFA winners (clockwise from top left) Coco Rocha, George Antonopoulos, Sarah Stevenson, Dean and Dan Caten (DSquared2)
Repping VAWK with Stacey McKenzie (right) and with the designer himself Sunny Fong (left)
Obligatory photo booth session with Nelia of Style Blog and Marc of Toronto Is Fashion
P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! We’re fun. We swear.
Following the success of their partnership this past summer, VAWK and eBay have announced a second capsule collection, due to hit the online auction site just in time for the holidays. “Instead of just bringing back the items we created from the last collection, I spiced them up for the holidays,” says VAWK creative director Sunny Fong. And that he did.
The limited edition line-up with feature 9 familiar styles that have been amped up with sequins, leather studs and fox fur. If you missed them the first time around, you won’t want to make that mistake again: the party-ready Manta dress, Manta caplet, studded accessories and printed silks are sure to sell out faster than you can say “buy-it-now”. Available from Dec 2nd to 8th, the collection will be sold at auction (starting at $99 for the Manta dress) and at buy-it-now prices ranging from $59 for an embossed leather cuff to $105 for a zebra-print scarf.
The pièce de résistance, the stunning, one-of-a-kind white Manta gown, will be auctioned off at a starting bid of $0.99, with proceeds to benefit Kids Help Phone. It’s designed to fit sizes 2 to 8, and destined for a bidding war. If you’re eyeing the gown, be warned: S wants it, and she’s officially throwing down the gauntlet. All for a great cause, right?
Images courtesy of eBay
The VAWK for eBay limited edition collection was announced just a few months ago, but it feels like we’ve been waiting forever for the August 12 launch date to arrive. It’s now – finally! – just around the corner, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the incredibly fabulous and insanely pocketbook-friendly collaboration.
We have a feeling you’re just as excited, so you’re going to want to take note: this collection is being produced, by hand and in fabrics used in VAWK’s main line, in very, very limited quantities. We’re predicting that the pieces will sell out faster than tickets to a [insert your favourite musician's name here] concert, so you’ll want to be at your laptop, wish list at the ready, as soon as the VAWK for eBay fixed price Buy It Now! auctions go live on August 12 – we know we will!
One lucky reader of The Backseat Stylers won’t have to worry about all that though. We’ve teamed up with VAWK and eBay to give away the opportunity to pre-shop #VAWK4eBay before anyone else. The winner of the contest will not only be the very first to purchase an item from the collection before it’s available to the public, but will also get a $100 eBay gift certificate with which to do it!
Intrigued? Contest rules are below. Besides submitting your entry and keeping those fingers tightly crossed, all you have to do is decide how you’d spend that $100. Would it be on an uber-chic accessory like the lizard-embossed fox fur cuff ($59) or towards the pièce de résistance of the collection, the stunning Manta shift dress ($119)? Check out the complete lookbook here. Decisions, decisions…
1. To enter, leave us a comment on this blog post telling us which VAWK for eBay collection item you are coveting the most, and ‘like’ The Backseat Stylers Facebook page.
2. For a bonus entry, follow @backseatstylers on Twitter and tweet the following: “The @backseatstylers are giving away a $100 @VAWK x @eBayCanada advanced shopping opportunity. I want it! http://bit.ly/18yh1bG #VAWK4eBay”
3. Contest closes on July 28, 2013 at midnight. Winner will be contacted via email.
4. Winner to select purchase item by July 31, 2013. Limit of 1 item from the VAWK for eBay collection.
5. There are no prize substitutions.
Image courtesy of eBay
It’s no secret by now that we here at The Backseat Stylers are huge fans of Toronto-based designer Sunny Fong and his label VAWK. There’d be even more VAWK in our joint closet if our bank accounts allowed for it, so we’re very excited about Sunny’s latest venture: an extremely pocketbook-friendly collaboration with eBay Canada.
Sunny has designed a limited edition, 7-piece collection of clothing and accessories to be sold exclusively on eBay. Each piece is being created by hand and with fabrics and materials used in VAWK’s main line. From $59 for a lizard-embossed leather cuff with fox fur to $119 for a chic black shift dress, all items will be sold at fixed Buy It Now! prices with free shipping in Canada. In short, the collection is a STEAL and we’re dying for every single piece, especially that leather skinny tie.
Check out the gallery below for the complete VAWK for eBay line-up, and mark your calendars for the launch on August 12! The designs will be produced in very limited quantities, and you won’t want to miss out on the chance to snag some gorgeous VAWK pieces at such incredible prices.
Images courtesy of eBay
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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Sunny Fong was the very last Canadian designer on the World Mastercard Fashion Week calendar this season. With the 8pm timeslot on a Friday night, one might worry that the burnt out fashion week crowd might give in to the temptation to skip out on the closing night shows and hit the bar instead, but they didn’t. Instead, they came out in droves – as they have every season since Fong’s line VAWK was reborn after his Project Runway Canada win – to see what is always one of the best collections of the week, and he made it more than worth their while.
Fong showed two collections, his lower-priced contemporary line, VAWKKIN, followed by his main line, VAWK. The former had debuted last season (remember that time I was a model for an afternoon?) with chic office-ready garb for the Bay Street crowd, and Fong continued in that direction for spring with a largely black-and-white stream of day-to-night dresses and separates. These were sophisticated looks with which the accountant in me would happily fill my work wardrobe. The white collared blouse with sheer black sleeves and skirt to match was a standout.
The second collection was much less practical, and delightfully so. The 13-look line-up was everything Fong’s fans, including Katy Perry and Elisha Cuthbert, love about VAWK: bold, sexy and dramatic. From the moment model Rochelle ten Holder opened the show in a jaw-droppingly stunning sheer black dress to when the final fringed eggplant purple gown turned out of sight, I was completely enamoured. It was one red carpet-worthy number after another, styled impeccably by Tricia Hall. The Niki & Lola-designed jewelry, including that Madonna-esque cone bra that had Twitter abuzz, perfectly complemented Fong’s strong collection.
Even tentative models who strutted only halfway down the runway, thanks to a super slick catwalk, couldn’t distract from the gorgeous designs. In fact, it was my favourite spring collection from VAWK to date, and a very high note on which to close Toronto Fashion Week for the season.
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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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Katy Perry in VAWK
Tonight’s Much Music Video Awards red carpet brought a few pleasant surprises in the form of black, black and more black. I shrieked aloud when I spotted Katy Perry in a stunning gown from VAWK‘s Resort 2012 collection, and then again when I recognized Nelly Furtado‘s to-die-for dress from Lucian Matis‘ Fall 2012 runway show. What a great night for Canadian fashion! Rounding out our best dressed list is Carly Rae Jepsen, who donned a sexy double-slit dress and Dannijo statement necklace.
Did you watch the MMVAs? Who else has “Call Me Maybe” stuck in their head for the 17th day in a row?
Nelly Furtado in Lucian Matis
Carly Rae Jepsen
Images via Just Jared, Bell Media
After 6 seasons of covering VAWK collections during Toronto Fashion Week, it’s become a tradition: I’m always the last to interview designer Sunny Fong after the show.
The first time it happened, after VAWK’s Spring 2010 show, it was because I was nervous as all hell; I’d never interviewed anyone before, much less a designer I’d become a huge fan of after having watched season 2 of Project Runway Canada religiously for several months. This past fashion week I was delayed for yet another nerve-wracking reason: I’d just walked in the runway show for Sunny’s new line, VAWKKIN.
It should come as no surprise then, really, that many of my most burning questions have thus far gone unasked. To finally get some answers – and kick off The Backseat Stylers’ new blog series Dropping by the Backseat - I stopped by Sunny’s studio recently for a long overdue tête-à-tête.
The Backseat Stylers: What’s your earliest fashion memory?
Sunny Fong: Do you know [Hong Kong-based pop star] Paula Tsui? I remember going to her concert once at Roy Thomson Hall, and she had these huge gowns and 3 or 4 costume changes. It was so incredible. I was like, “That’s what I should be doing!” I was probably 10 [years old]. I’ve always wanted to design clothing.
What else is on your bucket list?
I want VAWK to be a household name and a significant label, and then to grow from there. One thing I know I want to [accomplish in life] is something that’s very significant and non-fashion related. Something charitable, like Oprah.
You’ve known a long time that fashion design was what you wanted to do. What’s the best part of your job?
Making stuff and having people try it on – that’s the best part. When I do fittings, when I meet with clients or buyers, or when my friends come over and try [my designs] on, I get to see how things look on. Then I know whether or not something fits, if it looks good, if it’s realistic. It brings that reality to a concept.
What’s the worst fashion faux pas you’ve committed?
I went to the [Royal Ontario Museum] for a semi-formal event, and I wasn’t told that I was supposed to dress up. I had my jeans, a v-neck t-shirt and a scarf on, and I was the least dressed up out of everybody. Luckily, this was the same year that I won Project Runway. Thank God I was on the show, because that was my cover: “I’m trying to look like myself on the show…this is my uniform!”
Ever since then I’ve known to always dress up. You can never be overdressed.
Where is your favourite place to shop for yourself?
I love Hong Kong. They have everything, from the cheapest to the most expensive. I love seeing runway [designs] there.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
I love my fried chicken – anything deep fried. I also love going out dancing. The music we play on the runway is what I listen to when I design and also what I dance to. I visualize models on the runway while I’m on the dance floor!
If you were throwing a fashionable dance party, who would your three guests of honour be?
FLARE‘s Editor-in-Chief Lisa Tant, ELLE Canada‘s Editor-in-Chief Noreen Flanagan and FASHION‘s Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra. I’d want to see how they party!