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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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 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 BUY: Our favourite fall boots

Strutting into fall with Joe Fresh Style ($159, joe.ca). Story by Caitlin Agnew.

Full length, half length,
Fully fashion calf length,
Brown boots, black boots,
Patent leather jackboots,
Low boots, high boots,
Lovely lanky thigh boot,
We all dig those boots.

—Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, “Kinky Boots”

We’re digging these boots, an eclectic selection featuring fall’s hottest trends: shearling lining, military embellishments, and ’90s throw-backs (hello, Doc). This week on The Buy, we travel the world over, from Kathmandu to Munich, to bring you 12 of our favourite fall boots, all available in Toronto. In the words of Nancy Sinatra, “Start walking!”

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TOP SPOTS: Arlene Dickinson

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photograph courtesy of Arlene Dickinson.

Starring in Dragons’ Den is no easy task, but Arlene Dickinson manages to do it with professionalism, grace, and impeccable style. As the CEO of Venture Communications, Dickinson provides marketing services for the likes of Toyota, Unilever, and the LCBO. With an astute eye for the next big thing (she was the first Dragon to start a Twitter account back in 2008), she’s the image-savvy dragon, and arguably the one with the best (and most fiery) head on her shoulders.

Dickinson shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“I enjoy the patio and lounge at ONE (116 Yorkville Ave., 416-961-9600) for people watching and doing business. Belvedere vodka and soda with olives, please!”

To go for a drink on the weekend

“At my cottage. If I’m in the city there’s so many options—I have a commitment to visit a new bar/restaurant every month so I can explore them all and mix it up.”

Favourite brunch spot

Fresh on Bloor (326 Bloor St. W., 416-531-2635) and Kalendar Koffee House (546 College St., 416-923-4128).”

Top date spot

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THE BUY: Best of back to school

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Jacket ($49.50, at Dynamite), inspired by a certain Clueless character.

After a summer of sandals, sundresses, and socializing, September is the perfect time to reset and get serious.

This week on The Buy, we’re going all the way back to school. Whether you’re starting your year at university, college, high school (or you just like to look smart), fall’s best fashion is collegiate chic with a grungy twist. (Think cardigans paired with combat boots.)

We checked in with our favourite students of all time, from Blair Waldorf to A.C. Slater, to bring you their best back-to-school styles, with all items available in Toronto.

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THE IT: Sasha Grey at the Drake

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Jen Arron.

Last week, I stayed up way past my bedtime to catch Sasha Grey‘s DJ set at the Drake Hotel. While I knew of Sasha from her starring role in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, she’s known to most people through her work in adult entertainment—that, and her racy American Apparel ads. I couldn’t help but wonder: What exactly does one wear to see a DJ set by someone known for not wearing anything at all?

After making my way past the inscrutable security outside, I saw Keanu Reeves checking in with the concierge in the lobby. Is he a secret Sasha fan?  Thanks to my press pass, I was kept in the VIP section, far away from her many, many male fans. I was very grateful.

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THE IT: Sarah K of catl takes us vintage shopping

Sarah Kirkpatrick, of the Toronto band catl, which has two songs in the Jonathan Sobol movie, A Beginner’s Guide to Endings. The movie stars Harvey Keitel and Tricia Helfer and premieres at TIFF tonight. More details at the end of the post!

We spent an amazing day vintage shopping with Sarah in Mirvish Village. Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Sarah Kirkpatrick is no stranger to the spotlight. As the vocalist, organist, and percussionist of Toronto blues band catl, she’s a veteran of both the stage and stage style.

I first met Kirkpatrick at The Butler’s Pantry on Markham Street. It was the morning, or rather, afternoon after her band’s biggest show to date: opening for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Lee’s Palace. She sat down next to me, lowered her yellow sunglasses, and ordered a Coke, joking afterward on how it made her feel better, like “less of a dirtbag.”

A Pilates instructor by day, Kirkpatrick knows her body—very well. She doesn’t follow trends or designers and prefers buying quality vintage, using the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly as guides: “I’m more concerned with shape and lines and the clothes actually fitting properly.”

We decided to spend the day vintage shopping in her favourite neighbourhood, Mirvish Village, where I witnessed first-hand just how a rock star chooses her look.

TIFF SPECIAL: Inside the 99 Sudbury party

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography by Jason Jajalla.

On Wednesday night, with expectations high, I attended my first TIFF party. Not just for this year—ever. Before leaving for the Festival Opening Party at 99 Sudbury, I got my notepad and pen ready for all of the celebrity autographs I’d soon be collecting and spent a few moments rehearsing my best red carpet pose.

A little premature, perhaps. This event was actually a fête for in-the-know industry insiders looking to throw down after a hard day of preparations for the inevitable TIFF chaos to come. We anticipated, commiserated, and gossiped over much-needed wine and delicious nibblies like gnocchi poutine and chicken wing meatballs.

The evening was relaxed, sophisticated, and a good harbinger of what’s sure to be an amazing couple of weeks.

Click through for more pics!

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TIFF SPECIAL: Inside the Tastemakers Lounge

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photography courtesy of the Central Image Agency.

IT SPOT: Tastemakers Lounge, Intercontinental Hotel Yorkville (220 Bloor St. W.)

The scoop: One of TIFF’s top gifting suites (for festival talent and stars), the Tastemakers Lounge  is centered around the theme of “Fresh Goods.” There are three interactive stations: Wescan Optical for fashion eyewear, Mattel for the latest in board games, and Joe Fresh Beauty for touch-ups and manicures. Ninety-five percent of all brands showcased are Canadian, and an online auction of board games signed by celebrity visitors will benefit the SickKids Foundation.

Previous visitors: Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix, Samuel L. Jackson, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Aniston.

My favourite swag item: Fold-up flats from Damn Heels, something I’ll be carrying in my purse for the next 11 days.

Quoted: “You never know who’s going to stop by. With so many people staying in the hotel, we’re reaching out to all of them, but the big names never RSVP.” —Michelle Easton, rock-it Promotions.

Click through for behind-the-scenes pics!

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