SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At a very stylish sample sale

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

With a flurry of audacious patterns, primary colours, and ’80s explosions, the Beckerman sisters—Caillianne, Samantha and Chloé—held one of their occasional sample sales this past weekend, bringing a stash of their own designs as well as a curated selection of vintage finds to a pop-up shop at the north end of Toronto’s Fashion District.

Also on board was handbag creator Andrea Brueckner, who supplied a selection from her line—New York-made and sweatshop-free—which typically hangs from the shoulders and arms of L.A. starlets. Check out our favourite looks and pieces from the event!

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THE IT: Celebrating Jie Matar

Story by Leanne Delap. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

The other night at the Canfar Bloor Street Entertains fundraiser, I had the pleasure of being seated beside some bright young things. It was great fun—I enjoyed them and wondered at the verve and nerve.

But I was struck by the lack of history in the fashion industry of this city.

More particularly, mention of some of our classic eccentrics, I was struck by how fleeting fame and infamy is in this city. The currently current generation does not have a clear sense of what came before. Good heavens, someone must retain the grand memory of the years Bentley-driving Babs hairdresser Robert Gage wore nothing but white. Oh, except for the half-decade he wore only red.

Which brings me to Jie Matar. I first wrote about the self-professed “God of Hair” in Toronto Life when he opened his eponymous Parthenon on Avenue Road.

The new, reincarnated Jie is not on the bright young thing’s radar; then again, neither is the tale of his scandal and resurrection. Therein lies the tale: Fashion is a fleeting business. Good news is that we forget bad stuff. But bad news is we don’t celebrate the knotty stories that make larger-than-life legends like our embolden-empower American cousins.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Bitch Slap art opening

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last Friday, Playground Projects held the opening party for Bitch Slap, a no-nonsense art show featuring works by 28 female artists living across Canada and in New York City.

Curated by Toronto art-scene veteran Derek Mainella, the show celebrated art of all mediums—painting, photography, drawing, installation, sculpture, and film. The landmark event was sponsored by nearly every other business on the Queen West strip, from Parts & Labour at one end to Carte Blanche at the other.

Guests arrived at Thrush Holmes Empire in all sorts of looks—tartan maxi skirts, fur hats, and vintage leather, to name a few— and spent the evening sipping Russian Standard Vodka, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Vitamin Water.

Fashion trends may come and go, but art never goes out of style. Here are some of our favourite looks from the evening.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At The Society’s ’40s NY fete

Magritte-inspired partygoer Maarla Veld.

Story by Sara Graham. Photography courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency.

Last Thursday, The Society NYC hosted a perfectly proper affair (in a West Village mansion, no less) to celebrate the release of Lesley M.M. Blume‘s book Let’s Bring Back.

As part of The Society’s Literary Salon Series, ladies and gents slipped into 1940s attire to pay homage to those madcap mid-century fêtes thrown by heiress and art collector Peggy Guggenheim, and attended by her wild contemporaries in the modern art movement.

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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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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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