THE INVITATION: At the Peroni party (and the Thompson)

Stylish Peroni guests, including Tanya Kim (far left), Chris Sherman (middle) and Jeremy Freed (second from right). Story by Emily Blake. Photography by Dave Starrett.

As someone who lived in Italy briefly, I’m always thrilled when something I loved there pops into my Canadian life. This summer this came about when an invitation to sip Peroni arrived in my inbox. In the stifling heat wave that cloaked Toronto, there was no way I would skip an opportunity to lounge on the Spoke rooftop with a sweating bottle of birra italiana in my hand. The evening in question arrived, and up I went, wading into the crowd of scenesters, TV producers, and girls with impeccable sundresses.

Despite the exclusivity of the location, there seemed to be almost a block party quality to the evening—in the best way possible. Guests clinked glasses, talked summer cottage plans, and peeled off layers in the heat. The Society’s Amanda Blakely and Martina Stritesky engineered the trend of air kisses from a distance, as everyone came already sporting a fine glow. eTalk’s Tanya Kim held court in one corner, while the doyenne of Rogers, Suzanne, set up camp in the other, wearing a summer dress reminiscent of LV’s fall collection. My pals and I lingered longer than planned—the sun setting on the city was so lovely , the beers so refreshing, the crowd so mellow that we were loathe to carry on. However, the Thompson was calling—one of our travelling company had not yet seen it—so we were bound to the plan.

Upon arrival one thing was clear.

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THE IT: The Unlovable

Pacman will lure ‘em in every time. Story by Emily Blake.

The Unlovable (1415 Dundas St. W., near Gladstone)

Not everything happens on Queen Street. While new nightspot Parts & Labour is the darling of the fashion crowd, the newest bar to push us west on Dundas will appeal to a slightly different set. Owner Pol Cristo-Williams has proven adept at drawing in the scenesters at his two other joints, Sweaty Betty’s and The Red Light, but his new home away from home has a couple of secret weapons that should do the dirty work for him: Star Wars Pinball and Pacman.

Opening night saw a constant stream of competitors cracking out their best moves, whooping in victory and wailing in defeat. The girls (and guys) not feeling competitive are sure to enjoy the chic curved bar, the blackboard wall for impromptu artistic expression, and the well-stocked jukebox.

A warning to those aiming to be the next pinball Luke Skywalker: Don’t challenge Pol. He’s had months of practice playing into the wee hours. Game on!

THE INVITATION: At the Thompson

Thursday night’s holy grail. Story by Emily Blake. All photography courtesy of George Pimentel.

There is one thing that will drive any Torontonian into a lustful tizzy, and that thing is a rooftop patio. We believe drinks taste better in the sky (probably true as there is no street dirt flying around up there like at your average roadside patio). This city-specific obsession explains in part why it seemed every glittering party-goer the city over (and some from elsewhere) bee-lined to the opening of the Thompson Hotel on Wellington last night.

Said rooftop patio reached capacity shockingly early in the evening and stayed that way all night, leaving an inconsolable line-up at the elevators downstairs, downcast at the thought of missing a chance to see wunderkind Tavi Gevinson’s outfit in person. While the inimitable Jeanne Beker and charming makeup artist Paul Venoit twittered pics of the scene in the sky, those trapped below comforted themselves with watching the NBA finals in the hotel’s screening room. (Well-played indeed, Thompson team.)

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THE IT: Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae, pop star, burgeoning style icon. Story by Emily Blake.

Pop music is breaking my heart. It seems these days a slick mix + extravagant visual spectacle = success. I love theatricality as much as the next person, and I have been known to crank up the Britney on occasion, but I long for the musicality of The Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds, the raw energy of Joan Jett singing “I Love Rock and Roll”, and the unadulterated hope that runs through me when I hear Sam Cooke croon “A Change Is Gonna Come.” I want to feel something, think something.

Enter Janelle Monae. Her album The ArchAndroid is based around the story of a futuristic society, with androids representing a segregated minority. In the video for the first single “Tightrope” featuring OutKast’s Big Boi, we find our heroine locked in a facility that forbids dancing. (Echoes of Footloose, anyone?) What ensues is one of the most mesmerising videos I have ever watched, both for the quality of performers, but also for its impeccable styling.

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THE IT: Bam! Kablooey! Biff!

Illustration by Cleo Kendall. Story by Emily Blake.

Who doesn’t long for the day that they adopt a secret identity and fight the baddies in style? Recent evidence, including a rash of superhero movies (The Green Hornet, The Green Lantern, Iron Man and The Avengers) indicates that most of us have a secret hankering for a cape in our lives. Never fear—your opportunity has arrived! This year’s Rethink Romp is an invitation to “Party Like a Superhero” and fight breast cancer, which, after all, is everyone’s enemy.

It also offers an opportunity to see Canadian celebs in tights and capes—the guest list includes Ben Mulroney, Jian Ghomeshi, and Kristin Booth—and get down for a good cause. Tickets range from $50 (for 25 and under) to $65, and the party is sure to stay super till the wee hours.

So crack out the latex leggings (for the last time, we implore you!), and the thigh-high patent boots, or keep it sleek with matching cuffs on each wrist and a chic capelet. Buy your tickets here.

THE INVITATION: At the Hello! Style Icons party

Model Addison Gill with Ciara Hunt, editor-in-chief of Hello! Canada. Photography by George Pimentel. Story by Emily Blake.

Hello summer parties, heatwaves, sandals and bare legs! All of these were found at the Hello! Canada Style Icons event last week. Once again the Audi dealership on Bayview Ave.  was transformed into the epicentre of Toronto’s stylish set. A red carpet, paparazzi pit, and swishy door gals indicate the scene inside—as glossy as the magazine itself.

With blow-ups of style icons hanging on the walls—Grace Kelly overseeing all with her cool-as-a-cucumber stare—guests rose to the fashion challenge.

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THE IT: Youth and beauty

Red Handed by artist Robin Cymbaly, on view as part of Thru the Roots, a CONTACT show on display at Czehoski (678 Queen St. W.) until June 30. Story by Emily Blake.

Young artists often struggle to find footing in their communities, spending years toiling to find somewhere, anywhere, to show their work. CONTACT is known for its inclusion of emerging artists—especially those who are enterprising enough to find a gallery space, the entrance fee and the will to push through the grueling process of creating, selecting and mounting their work.

The four artists currently showing at Czehoski—Kirsten White, Robin Cymbaly, Justin Sutton and Matthew Marigold—are just such creative creatures. All have graduated from OCAD in the last three years. Rather than fight a long solo battle, they joined forces. The result is Thru The Roots, a diverse, layered show that evokes fragility, sex, beauty and solitude with ease.

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THE INVITATION: At the Innovators Ball

Suzanne Boyd, editor-in-chief of Zoomer, at the Innovators Ball. Story by Emily Blake.

Little girls know that there are certain parties that are better than the rest. They are anointed with the magic name – a ball – and that name gives them a glamour and intrigue that no other mere fete can match. This year, the annual Innovator’s Ball had that special ingredient, and the added bonus of “magic” itself as a theme. As the Ontario Science Centre currently plays host to the Harry Potter Exhibit, all those who wish they got an entrance letter to Hogwarts bought a ticket and booked a car service for the evening.

My evening began at a pre-coif at Amber in Yorkville hosted by the effortless hostesses of The Society, along with Hello! Canada and Siren Communications. Tropical hued martinis were passed, lashes applied by the gals from Gee Beauty and all the girls and their nattily dressed dates piled into the Vextini photo booth for pre-party glamour shots (the photo slips were also rumoured to grant line-skipping access to Amber’s notoriously impossible to get into post-Innovator’s party).

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THE INVITATION: The Society, The Face Hunter & more

Fashionable guests (including Gee Beauty‘s Natalie Gee in the mini) in conversation at The Society’s party for Yvan Rodic, the Face Hunter, and the Balenciaga Paris fragrance. The event was held at The Room at the Bay. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

Personal style, street style, fashion—the finest of lines divide these style base camps. Photographer Yvan Rodic has carved out his territory in the street style camp and, as evidenced by the turn-out at his book party on Thursday night, he is flourishing there. Sporting tousled hair, a velvet jacket, and the requisite slightly rolled up slacks, Yvan surveyed the crowd with the experienced gaze of an aesthete, doing what he does best: face hunting. Meanwhile, Balenciaga decided to join the hunt, celebrating Balenciaga Paris, the French house’s first new fragrance in years as Yvan launched his first book ever.

On arrival at The Room at the Bay, a delicate scented ribbon was tied around each guest’s wrist—a far chicer version of the sort of bracelet applied at concerts. The guest list was bolstered by the ranks of social butterflies drawn in by an invitation from The Society, as well as the beauty editors, fashion bloggers and style scenesters to whom a shiny party amongst the Bay’s impressive contemporary collection and a glass (or two) of pink sparkling really is just a Thursday.

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Agyness Deyn mixing it up on the turntables. Illustration by Cleo Kendall.

Fashion has many faces. The sleek, chic uptown face complete with $40 lip gloss and a glass of bubbly (in party terminology this would be a cocktail event at Hermès on Bloor Street), and, on the flip side, a slightly dishevelled, rock ‘n’ roll face complete with smoky eyes and black fingernail polish. This cool-girl, underground face was the one applied by all attending star photoblogger Tommy Ton’s party to celebrate the end of Fashion Week. Held at an “artspace” called Studio Gallery on College Street, the big draw was the promise of a DJ set by Agyness Deyn, the model known as much for her ultra-cool sartorial choices as her covers, campaigns and catwalks.

Upon entering and forking over a $20 cover (say what?) my partner in crime for the evening and I were faced with a conundrum. This party was apparently BYOB, and neither of us had packed an emergency flask. Luckily, the beer vending machine was at the ready, and, in a true high school flashback moment, mickeys of vodka and gin were being sold by mop top girls with shoes like stilts.

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