SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At Magnolia’s BASCH party

Brandon Dwyer, designer of BASCH outside Magnolia Boutique (333 Eglinton Ave. W.). Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

In Toronto, there are few reasons for the style set to travel north of Bloor: family, friends or, in my case, Magnolia Boutique. As a precursor to tonight’s BASCH by Brandon Spring 2010 presentation at 99 Sudbury, designer Brandon Dwyer teamed up with shop owner Juan Carlos for a sneak peak at the collection last week.

A cult haven for well-to-do Forest Hill-iates, Magnolia has been around since November 2008. Juan Carlos’s background in fashion design (he was an aspiring designer two lives ago) fueled his passion to get great work noticed. “Instead of being part of the designers that compete with each other, I wanted to help showcase local talent alongside international brands, so my customers would realize that fashion is not just European or American style,” Carlos explains.

Among Magnolia’s offerings for the upcoming season (shipments arrive daily): fur faves IZMA, painstakingly pretty Lucian Matis, the print piper Zoran Dobric, and body-con dresses and perfectly versatile tweeds from BASCH.

“I was happy to pair with BASCH because we share a value: uniqueness,” says Carlos. “That’s important at Magnolia: We don’t get more than three pieces per style, and we don’t reorder anything, no matter how fast it sells out. We don’t want our clients to think that they’re unique, only to run into a friend in the exact same outfit.”

Click through to check out our favourite looks from the night!

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THE IT: Behind the scenes of the Boobyball shoot

We went behind the scenes of the Studio 54-themed photo shoot, in support of the Boobyball benefit for Rethink Breast Cancer. Tickets for the October 16 benefit went on sale today! Buy yours at

Story and photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Rethink Breast Cancer recently organized a photo shoot for its upcoming Boobyball benefit in Bavette, the soon-to-be-opened resto lounge underneath Marben on Wellington Street.

Nothing out of the ordinary there, you might think. Except that this shoot’s theme was Studio 54, that iconic playground of the ascendant, the turbulent and the spiraling-out, where fame and the pursuit of indulgence mingled on a disco-infused dancefloor and drifted through lounges populated by Birkin, Halston and Minnelli alongside scores of young hopefuls.

Over seven hours, a slate of talented local photographers—including Jalani Morgan and Babar Khan—snapped models and industry volunteers who got into the ’70s Manhattan spirit.

Check out our behind-the-scenes pics!

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Ruins opening party

Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

“Is this the Ruins party?” I asked my co-cabbers as we pulled up at the corner of Queen and Shaw. Bright, busy, white walls. Drinks, art, crowds. Nope, definitely not Ruins, but an art gallery. Then we glanced to the right and saw a small sign in the corner window in neat block letters: “Come around the back.” Which we did.

Like its art gallery neighbour, the selection at Ruins, a new clothing haven for the Queen West set, is carefully curated. From Opening Ceremony to American menswear line Loden Dager, the shop feels like the cool, younger brother of Queen West comrades (rivals?) JacFlash.

The vision, courtesy of owners Josh Reichmann and Mikey Apples, seems to be simple enough: Bring back the independents and the no-fuss retail environment, where the boutique is an experience, not a chain. (It’s so chill that you can even get your hair cut in the back.) There weren’t any price tags on the clothing—that’s how ironic I thought the duo was being—but it turns out that they simply didn’t have time to price everything before the opening.

We’ll be posting an interview with Mikey and Josh next week, but in the meantime, check out our snaps from the opening party. (And check out Ruins too! It opened to the public this morning: 960 Queen St. W.)

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THE IT: Nua Swimwear

Clara Fortini, the designer of Nua Swimwear. Story and photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

It’s the dog days of summer and your first collection is about to debut. Your models are prepping in what could be a closet. There’s no lighting on the runway. And your line is all swimsuits.

Talk about a baptism by fire.

But Clara Fortini, a sociology grad and former flight attendant, emerged triumphant from the launch of Nua, her fashion-forward swimwear line, last weekend at a King West nightclub. Christened with elegant Portuguese identities—Ferro (Iron) and Cobre Tudo (Cover Everything)—her designs captivated a jostling Friday night crowd.

“I wanted people to see that you can pair these suits with a pair of tights or micro shorts,” Fortini explains. “You’re seeing more and more pool parties where there is the element of being in the pool and then going to the club right afterwards. This season I did the one-sleeve and the hoodie, and I want to go even above and beyond that. I’m trying to push the envelope just a little bit for women who are looking for something different in swimwear.”

What was the inspiration for Nua, and how did you decide to start with swimwear?

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Beckerman sample sale

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

With their bright hair and even brighter outfits, the Beckerman sisters—Caillianne, Samantha and Chloe—know how to make an entrance. Lucky for Toronto’s style set, they also know how to make a dress. And a jumper, and a hand-knitted showpiece skirt, and plenty more besides. This past weekend, they hosted a sale of their own samples along with choice items from their individual vintage collections (think Dior, Pucci, Ungaro).

As you’ll see from our snaps, the event attracted some of the cutest people in town.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Moon launch

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last week, the Bay held a launch party for Moon, its new private label with a high-fashion pedigree. The crowd was impressed with Moon’s coats and cardigans, but what really left them starry-eyed was the price range: from $39 to $139. Check back soon for our review; in the meantime, here are some of our favourite looks from the event.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Ezra Constantine show

From left: producer Sara Basso, writer Amy Verner, and photographer Caitlin Cronenberg. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last Thursday, the Toronto style set gathered at an Annex mansion to celebrate the official coming out party of Ezra Constantine, the menswear line from Stephen Wong and Kirk Pickersgill, who are also the fan favourite designers behind Greta Constantine.

We’ll post our interview with Stephen and Kirk soon, but in the meantime, check out some best-dressed pics (featuring Fritz Helder, who also played DJ!)

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At Salsa on St. Clair

Natalie Castellino snapped photos of the crowd at the Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival, billed as Toronto’s largest celebration of Latin culture. The photos are lovely on their own, but they’re also a heart-warming reminder of what a special city we live in. The proof is in the pics.

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Cute boy, cute toque. TOMMY, the new, more affordable line from Tommy Hilfiger, previewed last night during a packed fashion show at the Gladstone. The brand is in the midst of all kinds of moving and shaking, and TOMMY seems certain to further up the ante. Look for it in stores this fall. Photograph by Marq Frerichs.