THE IT: Holt Renfrew’s True Patriot Love

The culmination of the Holt Renfrew Spring 2011 runway presentation at LG Fashion Week. Photography courtesy of George Pimentel.

Fashion Week kicked off in high style this season with a special runway presentation organized by Holt Renfrew and featuring some of the hottest names in Canadian fashion: Jeremy Laing, Smythe, Pink Tartan, Line Runway, Denis Gagnon, Lida Baday, Wayne Clark, Wings and Horns, and Mikahel Kale. (I know, right?!)

The design talent on display was impressive enough, but equally remarkable was how smoothly it all went down. The FDCC’s Robin Kay and Coco Rocha gave brief yet warm opening remarks, then an introductory video inspired by Diana Vreeland ended by suggesting that “Magenta is the navy blue of Canada” (in homage to the legendary editor’s quip “Pink is the navy blue of India”). Then it was on with the show!

The Style Notebook talked to Jennifer Daubney, lovely girl-about-town and the communications manager at Holt Renfrew, who helmed the runway presentation.

What was the biggest challenge in organizing a show of this magnitude? What surprised you the most about the process?

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STYLE MAP: Coco’s Closet

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Coco’s Closet (413 Jane St., 647-981-6870).

Nadia Trelle, a former associate buyer at Holt Renfrew, could easily become any girl’s new best friend. Not only is she très enthusiastic about all things fashion, she’s also a girl’s girl—which becomes clear within just a few minutes of watching her interact with her customers. She wants them to find the perfect dress, the perfect bag, or the perfect shoe, and she makes it her mission to help them succeed. (With a few Chanel bags on the shelves, how could she steer you wrong?)

Nadia’s consignment boutique, Coco’s Closet, is one of the first to pop up in the Bloor West Village area, after the recent success of shops like Fashionably Yours and LAB  Consignment in the Queen West and Ossington neighbourhoods.

What strikes me most about the selection at Coco’s is the quality. The Postcard winter jacket with fur trim has surely never seen a Canadian winter, and a beautiful pair of Burberry rain boots have certainly never splashed in a puddle. The finds that particularly caught my eye were a Balenciaga Giant clutch and a Missoni knit twinset that I had to reach out and touch. You know, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

What can we find in Coco’s Closet?

“I take things that are a year or two old, unless, of course, they’re classic pieces. An Hermès scarf from 20 years ago is still relevant, right? Ideally, I’m a mid-to-high end store. I have a Christian Dior dress, Armani, Prada, Gucci, Robert Rodriguez, but I also have some Theory pieces, as well as premium denim like Sevens and Citizens. I also carry the odd piece  of Banana Republic. I’m really looking for up-to-date fashion. The boutique is 70 percent on the higher end of things, but I’m always looking for that fun fashion piece. If something comes along that I think is right for me, I’ll put it in the store.”

Why consignment versus retail?

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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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LETTER FROM LEANNE: Marc for the people

The limited-edition Marc by Marc Jacobs tote ($48), created exclusively for Holt Renfrew, and on sale now. Part of the proceeds go to support Vision Spring, a non-profit organization providing affordable sunglasses to people in the developing world.

Story by Leanne Delap, who will be writing a regular column for The Style Notebook.

Carry-alls have become an important accessory. We all drive, bicycle, or tote on transit, many grocery and sundry bags. You feel like a criminal carrying a plastic bag, so you collect reusable totes in a way you never would have predicted. I love the oddball, though curated, cloth sacs I grab: a Harrods bag, one from a bookshop in Martha’s Vineyard, a Toronto Public Library tote, and a plasti-straw Marc Jacobs tote with retro red piping.

So I was intrigued when Holt Renfrew recently launched a limited-edition charity bag from Marc by Marc Jacobs. The bags are like the Prada parachute fabric: High-tech with a sheen. The front is the logo in the form of an eye chart. In short, the kind of item you see and unreasonably want, whatever that says about me-slash-us.

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THE IT: Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt

Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt ($25, exclusively at Holt Renfrew‘s 60 Bloor St. location, until September 20)

In Toronto, we’re going crazy with TIFF, and in New York, it’s all about Fashion’s Night Out (and Fashion Week, of course). Tonight, the original—and biggest—FNO will include karaoke with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, a Helmut Lang block party, and a “French-Style Flea Market” at the Ace Hotel starring Alexander Wang, Rodarte, and the intriguingly named “designer cupcakes.”

Back home, you can get in on the excitement with a T-shirt that is chic, affordable, and in service to a great cause: Part of the proceeds go to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research and the New York AIDS Fund.

In TIFF terms, that’s two Milano Spritzers at the Four Seasons bar, or a cab from the Drake to Yorkville. In other words? Well worth it.

—Laura deCarufel

TIFF SPECIAL: Red-carpet ready for $163.50

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.

While TIFF is all about out-of-this-world parties and the outfits to match, the majority of us aren’t working with a blockbuster budget. With our wallets’ best interest in mind, we’ve scoured Toronto for the best fashion and beauty deals to take you from Norma Jean to Marilyn—diamonds not included.

THE DRESS

My Favourite Dresses (myfavouritedresses.com, 634 Yonge St., Suite 201, 416-944-9207)

Located in Toronto’s high-end shopping mecca, My Favourite Dresses rents A-list designer dresses so you never have to wear the same thing twice. New arrivals just in time for TIFF? Frocks from Hervé Leger and Halston. Bonus: Dry cleaning is included.

Price: $50

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TOP SPOTS: Natasha Penzo

In the Toronto fashion scene, Natasha Penzo is a stylish omniscient presence. As the media relations manager for ASC PR, Natasha boasts an A-list client roster, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Thompson Toronto, and the jewellery designer Jenny Bird. Natasha is also active on the philanthropy circuit—she’s on the executive committee for Operanation, the fundraiser for the Canadian Opera Company, and she’s the co-chair of this year’s Boobyball, the annual ultra-glam event in support of Rethink Breast Cancer.

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

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

“The Park Hyatt rooftop is one of the most charming spots in the city. I love that they give you cozy blankets on the patio to take in the spectacular view. My drink of choice is a full-bodied French Bordeaux.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

“The Spoke Club patio or the Thompson Hotel rooftop patio for mojitos.”

Top brunch spot

“Patachou (1120 Yonge St., 416-927-1105) is the greatest café-patisserie. Café, pain au chocolat, and the weekend paper….”

Take-out go-to

Rebel House for great pub food or Seven East in Rosedale for delicious Thai.”

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TOP SPOTS: Marika Brose

Marika Brose has the equivalent of a fashion phD. Check out a snapshot of her CV: Brose studied design in Paris and merchandising management in New York. She worked in design for Chloé, AlexSandro Palombo and Pink Tartan, then as a buyer for retailers like Bloomingdales. She tested her marketing mettle at Holt Renfrew and at Prada’s Milan headquarters. Now, with Brose, her own line, she’s among the head of the class of Toronto fashion designers. Made up (mostly) of chic and sexy cocktail dresses, Brose is for “women who like to go out.”

Marika shared a few of her own favourite spots to go out in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

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

“Our rooftop patio. My boyfriend has transformed it into Mykonos—or, at least, our version of Mykonos. We’re hoping it will tide us over until we retire there. Drink of choice is Prosecco.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

“The Thompson’s rooftop patio.”

Top brunch spot

“The Granite Club makes a mean Eggs Benny, and who wouldn’t enjoy the view of the ravine and red-clay tennis courts?”

Place to buy books or magazines

“I have too many magazines—I’ve been collecting Vogue since 1982.”

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TOP SPOTS: Susie Love

Susie Love is an artist and jewellery designer, who also has the best laugh in the city. (Seriously.) Her laptop was acting up, so she shared some of her favourite places in Toronto with us via text.

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and drink of choice)

The Drake; red wine.

To go for a drink on the weekend

Reposado Tequila Bar on Ossington to hear the gypsy swing band.

Brunch spot

Aunties and Uncles on Lippincott.

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