TIFF SPECIAL: At the Hello! party

Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley, of The Society (seen here during TIFF 2010), were among the stylish guests at the Hello! soiree. Story by Amanda Alvaro.

If you stood back from the red carpet outside the Royal Conservatory on Saturday night, you would have sworn you’d descended on a true Hollywood fete.

First clue. A bevy of black-clad PR beauties flashing mega-watt smiles as they turned down dozens of disappointed partygoers who didn’t make the list to this year’s Hello! Magazine Party.

Second. A row of cameras, two-deep, lining the carpet, followed by a crowd of TIFF watchers who stood on concrete planters, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of those who paused and posed for the perfect shot.

Yes. It all looked very Hollywood indeed. The only thing missing was…well…the Hollywood stars.

While the party certainly drew a list of Toronto social elite, it didn’t draw the likes of big name celebs like Matt Damon and K’naan, who were noshing at the One x One party down the street,  leaving many of the TIFF carpet-watchers asking each other, “Who was that?!”

Never mind. What the Hello! Party lacked in Hollywood celebs, it made up for in a sizable crowd of Canadian artists, fashionistas, socialites and personalities.

Walking the red carpet? Photographer Caitlin Cronenberg, actress Tara Spencer Nairn, Flare editor Lisa Tant, boxer Lennox Lewis and his gorgeous wife. Other stylish partygoers included David Rocco and wife Nina (decked out in a sensational pink and silver sequined Versace), and actresses Natalie Brown and Amanda Crew, who informed us that she picked up her simple black sundress from Aritzia just hours earlier.

Continue reading

TIFF SPECIAL: At the RED party & Fubar II after-party

Photographer Caitlin Cronenberg, the curator of the RED exhibition, in front of a photo of her filmmaker father. Story by Emily Blake. Photography by Louie D.

Last night, I solved one of the city’s greatly lamented questions: “Where are all the men?” My first night of TIFF-trotting found me at two deeply different parties, and at each was a veritable swarm of men.

First up was the party for RED, curated by Caitlin Cronenberg and held at PEARS on the Avenue, the condo showroom at Ave and Dav, currently converted into the TORO After Dark Lounge. I suppose one shouldn’t be shocked when attending an event hosted by a men’s magazine that there would be men there. But so many! And for an art exhibit? Shocking.

The event was uptown in all conceivable ways—suits aplenty, cold cocktails, hot apps, a candy bar, and plenty of bling. Perhaps all the men were there to get a peek of D. Cronenberg, whose films are practically universally acclaimed among the testosterone set. Though the photos themselves—a glimpse into the New York Times’s Canadian photo archive, recently purchase by the owner of TORO— are really enough of a draw. Some of the images featured well known faces (Jackie O nose to nose with a horse—adorable!) and some were more esoteric, but Miss C did an excellent job of placing them throughout the space; every time I found myself in a nook there was something fascinating to look at.

Also fascinating was the contingent of TV talent—Colin Mochrie, Spenny (sans Kenny), Natalie Brown—and scenesters like Jeff Stober of the Drake, communications maven Mary Symons and designer guy Anwar Mukhayesh. It was clear this off-the-grid TIFF event was one of the evening’s best fetes.

But in the true spirit of TIFF one must never linger in one location too long.

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