THE IT: Thakoon checks into The Room

Thakoon Panichgul at The Room at the Bay. Story by Mishal Cazmi.

Thakoon Panichgul’s ascent in the fashion industry didn’t occur overnight. The designer, who obtained a degree in business before enrolling in Parsons School of Design, debuted his collection in 2004. His garments have graced the silhouettes of starlets like Marion Cotillard and Carey Mulligan, but his ultimate coup has been to dress First Lady Michelle Obama. One of the most feted designers of New York Fashion Week every season, Thakoon’s Midas touch is his thoughtful—and artful—approach in flattering the female form.

Recently, The Room at the Bay previewed Thakoon’s Spring 2011 collection at a trunk show with the designer in attendance. The trunk show also included pieces from his Fall 2010 and Resort 2011 collections.

Thakoon embarked on a flight of fancy with his Spring collection, keeping his signature romantic and feminine aesthetic while offering a lighter, airier fare.  A sea of white, structured pieces balanced with billowy dresses, and unexpected details like exposed hook-and-eye closures and mesh. “Almost preppy but done in a feminine way,” said Thakoon.

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LETTER FROM LEANNE: Lauren Bagliore’s fresh start

A look from Lauren Bagliore Spring 2011, a collection that our veteran fashion writer saw through fresh eyes (with a little help from a friend). Story by Leanne Delap.

Fashion reporting has changed completely since my days on the tour. I whipped around London, Milan, Paris and New York for a half dozen years in the mid-90s as fashion reporter for the Globe and Mail before I had kids; later I cherry-picked ready-to-wear shows and five-starred the haute-couture a couple of times as editor-in-chief of FASHION. Though in the years hence I never stopped writing about fashion, I oft maintained that I’d sooner eat beetles than sit through another show. It sounds so glamorous, but humping through the full seven-week tour filing stories made me more tired than a toddler with projectile stomach flu.

That was a puerile dismissal, for I now realize I was very privileged to have witnessed some extraordinary moments: I remember now crying at the first McQueen show I saw at the Royal Horticultural Gardens when the late genius sent models out in filmy gowns shackled inside cages, wading through water. That was the show he hand-carved a leg prosthesis for model Amy Mullins. I sat behind the legendary Suzy Menkes from the International Herald Tribune, and beside Jerry Hall. Everyone was moved.

I was crammed into a gate rushing the buzzy first Theyskens show, where then-Hole bassist Melissa auf der Maur was his Goth bride in elaborate black crepe corsetry. I saw Miyake’s final show, where 30 supermodels were strapped together in an undulating green silk cocoon at the Academy des Beaux Arts. (I was lucky enough to see the real supermodels in their runway heyday, the Naomis and Kates, even the Lindas, Helenas, and Christys at the Versace tribute show after his untimely death.)

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THE IT: Alessandra and Lily

Alessandra Ambrosio and Lily Aldridge, Victoria’s Secret Angels, touched down at the Eaton Centre last week. Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last Thursday marked the opening of Canada’s fourth Victoria’s Secret store and the first in downtown Toronto. Located at the Eaton Centre, the occasion brought two very special visitors to our city: Alessandra Ambrosio and Lily Aldridge.

When asked if I was interested in meeting with the Angels to chat about Victoria’s Secret, I jumped at the chance—as did my (male) photographer. Who wouldn’t want to check out these mythic creatures in person?  When we arrived for the interview, the door was flanked by two massive security guards.  I wondered if they were hired to protect the models or the $2 million bra on display.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Love, Chloé party

Photography courtesy of JJ Thompson.

Last week, a luxe Annex home played host to a very pretty party, complete with très sweet sweets, rose petals in the bathtub, and a performance by opera singer Giorgia Fumanti. (The crowd wasn’t half-bad either.) The occasion? LOVE, an event presented by The Society and Chloé in honour of the French fashion house’s new fragrance.

Click through for some of our favourite looks of the night.

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THE IT: Operanation VII, tomorrow night!

Tomorrow night is Operanation VII, Cinderella: Rock the Ball. Buy your tickets now!

Story by Marq Frerichs.

If you’ve ever had the privilege of bringing something new/different/cool to the eyes and ears of little ones, you’ll understand what I mean about seeing the lights go on—ping, click, pop, bells and whistles, crack and fireworks going off. Bringing the performing arts to kids is one of those unsung parts of working as a performing artist. Truth is, we complain about school shows just ‘cause everybody likes to complain, just a little. But the truth is that they’re wonderful experiences for both the artist and children.

You may be asking yourself: Why are you telling me this?

Because tomorrow night is Operanation VII, the Canadian Opera Company‘s hotly anticipated gala event, which is raising money for the COC’s children’s outreach programs. And with Monday’s election outcome, the arts and, more importantly, the arts and education of our future citizens have never been more pressing.

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TALK TO ME: Leith Clark, part II

Story by Mishal Cazmi. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

This is the second part of our conversation with Leith Clark, stylist and editor-in-chief of Lula Magazine. You can read the first part here.

How would you compare Canadian fashion with British fashion?

“For me Canada is an environment where I can’t not be outside. So there is an element of practicality brought in. Imagine my shoes lasting a Canadian winter! (Tabitha Simmons pale pink suede wedges.) All four seasons are so strong and vivid here. The people are so real. Fashion needs to to match it. Practicality is an issue more than it is in a city like London. The lifestyle is different. Some of the dresses that I bring here when I visit, I know I’m just going to hang them up. I know I’m not actually going to wear them.

Or maybe I do wear them, just under gigantic coats and with my motorcycle boots from when I was 14! I think you have to think about the environment you’re in. I want to be outside when I’m here, even when it’s snowing. Especially when it’s snowing. Fashion should never inhibit you or limit you.”

If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

“I did this thing in the ninth grade that I thought was a good idea. I probably read it in Sassy. On the first day of high school, I had to be the first person to raise my hand or volunteer, no matter what the question, in every class. It made that whole year so easy. I think that fearlessness and applying it, so that you’re never intimidated by anything and you don’t have long enough to psych yourself out, is a very nice thing and I wish I remembered it more often—especially at 16. I would tell myself to keep doing that.

And—the only person whose opinion reeeally matters, is your own.

Also, everyone, no matter what career they choose, has a point of view…. I think it’s important to encourage it in others and ourselves…. Sometimes we’re discouraged, and everyone’s creative view point is unique and important. We all had universes we created as kids that we would play inside. There’s no reason why that doesn’t have to continue when we grow up. You know, stare at paintings to figure out why certain ones make you feel something… make scrapbooks….  It’s so interesting when you get to dip into someone else’s world. People like to meet other people and have a place they can visit. Nurture yours in yourself and in others…

You’re having a tea party. You can only invite five guests, past or present. Who would they be?

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Joe Fresh after-party

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

At the always fantastic Joe Fresh Style runway show on Wednesday night, attendees (Ben Mulroney among them) were given a neon-orange wristband to get into the official after-party. After the pandemonium of finding our seats in the packed venue, a drink was most certainly in order.

Held at Maision on Mercer Street, it was a full house when I arrived at 11. The location couldn’t have been better. A vaulted ceiling covered in giant chandeliers hung above a dance-floor surrounded on three sides by an upper level, perfect for people-watching.

Members of the media indulged in free drinks while Joe Mimran, the man himself, got down with his design team. I even spotted a group of representatives from Scouts Canada in full uniform. Who better to celebrate their new collaboration with the brand?

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THE IT: Bustle Spring 2011

Story and photography by Marq Frerichs.

Monday night at LG Fashion Week and Bustle rocked the house, band and all. The collection felt like a departure for Bustle, much softer in colour and tone.

Don’t get me wrong—there was still all the hippness and bravado from previous seasons, but something about the pastel striped socks made me think that perhaps the new baby in the lives of Bustle designers Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow is influencing their sweeter palette.

And the mint green suit was awesome.

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TALK TO ME: Leith Clark, part I

Story by Mishal Cazmi. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

Only the prettiest adjectives—ethereal, whimsical, and dreamlike—can describe Lula magazine. It’s a magazine dipped in sunlight and enchantment, a world inhabited by dreamers.

Published twice a year, Lula has become more than a magazine; it’s evolved into brand and a lifestyle, made in the image of Clark herself. A Lula girl is a special kind of a girl. She’s a bit Sofia Coppola, a bit Enid Blyton. She eats cupcakes and sips champagne. She wears Moschino and Erdem.

Leith Clark, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, also happens to be Canadian. Clark’s journey is a familiar narrative in the magazine world—a small town girl who moved to New York City in pursuit of her dreams. She interned at Interview magazine before moving to London to work at British Vogue as an assistant to Kate Phelan. But Clark also made it in a big way.

She’s styled stars (Keira Knightley), campaigns (Chanel), and shoots (Harper’s BazaarVogue). And of course, she created Lula, a magazine that began as a small labour of love and has since earned an international cult following. In other words, Leith Clark is the best friend you wish you had. Every suburban girl need only look to Clark, a former resident of Oakville, Ontario, to realize that dreams can come true. She’s the living embodiment of the Lula fairy tale.

Clark was recently in Toronto for the opening of her Lula pop-up shop, curated for The Room at the Bay in celebration of its God Save the Queen event. In a Chanel dress and her favourite Tabitha Simmons suede platform wedges, Clark sat down to chat with The Style Notebook.

You curated the LULA pop-up shop for The Room, which you also did earlier this summer for Harvey Nichols. What were you looking for when selecting items for the pop-up shop?

“Sometimes it’s very selfish. The Miu Miu shoes that are in there were actually shoes they did five years ago. I think I called every Miu Miu store in the whole world and they were all sold out. This May, I got engaged and I remembered those shoes again. I wrote a letter to them saying, just so you know, one of the very first thoughts I had about a wedding were those shoes. So they made them and sent them to me to my house with a card, which was amazing. And then Harvey Nichols asked me to do a pop-up shop for them last summer and one of the first things I thought to do was phone Miu Miu again about those shoes.

Everything else in the shop is by people that I love. Charles Anastase made a dress similar to this one three years ago, but it was short with much wider straps and a higher neck. The Sonia Rykiel dress is a variation of one that existed that was longer. It usually starts with something they’ve already done. With Rodarte, I was really annoying and decided I wanted to wear white dresses forever! There’s also a book called Pretty Things by Liz Goldwyn. It’s so wonderful and I think people don’t see it enough.”

Lula has a very particular aesthetic. When you’re preparing an issue, how do you decide who gets to be in the pages—who the photographer is, the writer, who to interview?

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