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 www.boobyball.com

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!

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

THE IT: Meet Moon

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

They say that the ultimate challenge for the modern woman, when dressing for day, is “how to go effortlessly from business to pleasure, work to play.” Somehow I think that Bonnie Brooks wants to save the day.

When the Bay gathered us all into an all-white room in Liberty Village, for the launch of Moon, its new private label collection, it was a big deal for more reasons than one. For starters, the Bay had recruited the Mimran Group (the company of Saul Mimran, brother to Joseph) to design what appears to be the antithesis of the upscale designer fare on offer in The Room, the Bay’s luxury boutique. They also managed to snag downtown arbiter of cool Leigh Lezark and her on-and-off-again Misshapes to spin at the party and appear in the company’s upcoming ad campaign.

During her set, Leigh was wearing what appeared to be the line’s most daring piece: a sequined jacket that looked so right on her I wanted to strip it from the mannequin out of justice.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

STYLE MAP: Réva Mivasagar

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Réva Mivasagar (753 Queen St. W., revadesigns.com)

Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker made it fashionably acceptable to accessorize with a bird headpiece on your wedding day, I’ve come to consider bridal fashion as more than just a white dress. Fashion designer Réva Mivasagar, however, has infused his couture wedding dresses with runway-worthy glamour for years. After studying at Central Saint Martins in London (where he roomed with Alexander McQueen), Mivasagar moved to New York and started his bridal line, which has been featured in every top bridal magazine, including Martha Stewart Weddings.

About a year ago, Mivasagar set up shop in Toronto, where he creates beautiful wedding dresses as well as a separate fashion line that soon-to-be brides often end up walking out with. “That’s our bride, more of a runway bride,” says the designer.

How did you get involved in the fashion world?

“I’ve been involved in fashion for over 25 years now. When I was in high school, I became really interested in costume and I ended up enrolling in a pretty esteemed costume school in Australia. After my first year, however, I made the cross-over into fashion.”

At what point did you start designing bridal pieces? Was the transition something you fell into or did you plan it?

“It was definitely something I fell into. About 10 years ago, I was doing eveningwear in New York and my agent asked me to create a collection of white evening gowns. It just took off as bridal. Obviously there was a market out there for women who didn’t want to look so ‘bridey’. I put some of the dresses in the window at our shop in SoHo and it became my bread and butter.”

What are the three most desirable qualities a dress should possess?

Continue reading

THE IT: Meet Ezra Constantine

Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, the designers of Greta Constantine and Ezra Constantine, the menswear line which had its official launch party last week. Writer Paul Aguirre-Livingston turned what seemed like a missed opportunity into an exclusive interview. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

“I think you missed it,” said Samantha Beckerman, of the Beckermans fashion line, as I rushed into a historical Annex home for the preview of Ezra Constantine’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. Turns out that the 9 p.m. showing of the new menswear line was cancelled because, on the busiest August night for Toronto’s media, the people had simply come, seen, loved and left.

“It had this military subtext to it,” Fashion Television’s Christopher Sherman commented, “but still very classic Ezra.” What an odd way of putting it, I thought. A collection that is still so in its infancy (not even a year old) already had a look, a “classic” style. And that’s why it mattered that I missed it.

Continue reading

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!)

Continue reading

STYLE MAP: Carte Blanche

Tania Martins, owner of Carte Blanche. Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Carte Blanche (758 Queen St. W., 416-532-0437, shopcarteblanche.ca)

True to its name, Carte Blanche gives free rein to your imagination as soon as you walk through the door. The space calls to mind a sexy collision of Lichtenstein pop art and high fashion—and the clothes only add to the artful effect. Every piece on the CB racks has at least one of the following: a cut-out, a unique pattern, an atypical textile, and a way of making you believe that yes, you can pull it off.

I sat down with owner Tania Martins to learn about shaking up the “safe” Toronto style scene.

Carte Blanche displays an obvious confidence in the brands it carries—you’re obviously no fashion rookie. How did you become involved in the fashion world?

“When I was in high school, I interned for a Canadian designer as part of a co-op course and that pretty much made me fall in love with the industry. I ended up working with that same designer for four years. Shortly afterwards, I met my current business partner, Dan Agostino. He’s really driven, exciting, motivating—and he loves fashion even more than I do. He had a store on Queen Street called Pink Cobra.

Now Pink Cobra has turned into a fashion line, but at the time, the store carried really fashion-forward pieces and brands that no one in Canada had ever heard about. The store eventually closed because Dan was going back and forth to England, but once he got back for good, the ball started rolling again. We went from a makeshift studio on Dundas back to our original space, which is where we are now, and launched Carte Blanche.”

Do you think that, in general, Torontonians follow what’s on trend versus taking a risk with their wardrobe?

“Yes. Toronto is safe. A perfect example is the brand April 77, an amazing denim brand from Paris. The jeans cost about $170. When we first started carrying them, people weren’t buying them. They had never heard of the brand and thought they were too expensive for a denim line that didn’t have the cult following of, say, Sevens or Nudie.

Then two seasons later people caught on and started asking for them all the time. Torontonians have a tendency to buy what they’ve already heard of, what’s hyped in magazines, and what celebrities are wearing. That’s not what we’re about. We’re here for the people who want to live outside the bubble.”

Continue reading