SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At The Society’s ’40s NY fete

Magritte-inspired partygoer Maarla Veld.

Story by Sara Graham. Photography courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency.

Last Thursday, The Society NYC hosted a perfectly proper affair (in a West Village mansion, no less) to celebrate the release of Lesley M.M. Blume‘s book Let’s Bring Back.

As part of The Society’s Literary Salon Series, ladies and gents slipped into 1940s attire to pay homage to those madcap mid-century fêtes thrown by heiress and art collector Peggy Guggenheim, and attended by her wild contemporaries in the modern art movement.

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THE IT: London’s top shops

Hostem and Vintage 123, two stops on London’s amazing Urban Gentry shopping tour.

Story by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London.

Landing in one of the world’s fashion capitals can be more than a little overwhelming. Just stand on the corner of Oxford Circus for five minutes, as I did recently. It was a tidal wave of fall fashion and I was most definitely caught in the undertow.

It’s impossible not to shop. There are the usual suspects: Topshop, Selfridges, Harrods, and Dover Street Market for those who can afford the edgy couture on offer.

But when it comes to the business of “new” in London, no one quite has their finger on the pulse like Kevin Caruth. He started Urban Gentry tours back in 2007, and, after forging key relationships with hotel concierges—think customized tours for teens, and private sessions for the serious shopper or casual browser—his team is now servicing some of the world’s top fashion journalists. I had to get in on this action.

For my purposes, Kevin suggested that his protégé, Mae Shummo, take me in and around the East End where the business of fashion, art, and all things designer are flourishing at a rapid pace.

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Artbound ’80s pARTy

Amanda Alvaro, Artbound Co-founder and Anthony Lacavera, the CEO of Wind Mobile, at the Artbound pARTy: Fame fundraiser. Photograph by Tom Sandler.

This time last week, guests planning to attend the Artbound pARTy were heating up their crimping irons and popping their collars in can’t-wait anticipation of the ’80s-themed fundraiser which raised over $150,000 for Artbound, the non-profit organization, in support of Free the Children.

With outfits this amazing, selecting our top 20 favourites was as tricky as choosing between Andrew McCarthy and James Spader. But we did it. Check out our picks for the top pics!

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THE IT: Anthea Simms, runway photography star

Then and now: Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue, in the ’80s (left), and last season in New York.

Story by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town, who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London. Photography courtesy of Anthea Simms.

For better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, Anthea Simms has been married to the business of runway photography for almost 30 years. Her images have appeared in countless publications, including ELLE UK and Flare, which was the first magazine to commission her work.

Anthea and I met on a blustery afternoon at the Metropolitan Hotel in London’s Mayfair district. After my delightful discovery that she too owned the Canon G11 camera (which made me feel much better about dropping the substantial sum to buy it), Anthea schooled me as we arranged a snap-happy mini-shoot of our gorgeous Afternoon De-Light tea.

Between bites, Anthea answered a few questions about her career, Carine, and her fascinating experiences as one of the few female runway photographers.

How did you get involved in runway photography?

“I first trained as an illustrator and ended up having a tough time making a living freelancing. So, needing to find a full-time job, I started working for a fashion company. One day a photographer dropped out of an assignment at the last minute and I was given the opportunity to do some shooting…really horrible looking back on it…but it was so fantastic [in that it was] instant, not instant by today’s standards, of course. For me, as an illustrator, by the time it takes to get things done, it was so quick! After that I just kept on going.

[In terms of runway photography] it helps if you love the clothes. When I started, there were some pretty revolutionary designers, and the ’80s was really the beginning of runway madness.”

What was your first experience as a runway photographer?

“The first show was in 1981, before I started doing the whole circuit. It was Betsey Johnson in New York and I shot that in black and white. I think it’s great that I can even remember that. Well, at least it’s a designer that’s still in business, which is quite an achievement.” [laughs]

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LETTER FROM…London

Story and photos by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town, who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London.

In London, Harvey Nichols has got to be tops when it comes to the business of department store window dressing. The sets installed for the autumn season are genius. Books, cassette tapes, pegs, pencils, nails, and about a million puzzle pieces were used to create a magical series of scenes that even impressed my 12-year-old nephew. Now that’s a job well done!

Click through for more pics!

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THE IT: Kurt Geiger boots

Story by Sara Graham, a Toronto writer and girl-about-town, who recently spent a stylish sojourn in London.

When it comes to shopping in London, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by what’s on offer. But for a convenient one-stop, in my books, no retailer does it better than Topshop’s flagship Oxford Circus location. If any of you have been to the five levels of fast fashion, you know what I mean: Accessories, bags, vintage, maxi dresses, hosiery, knits, and the shoes! It’s all about the shoes.

That being said, I have a strategy (and a budget) so I don’t go crazy.  On the first visit, I browse and never buy anything over £10. However, when I spied these boots by Kurt Geiger, it was love at first sight. Deep and immediate love. The colour, the buckles, the tread, everything said Fall 2010 essential footwear to me. The fit was perfect, of course.

On the second visit, let’s just say I blew the budget and leave it at that.

TOP SPOTS: Sara Graham

Sara Graham has worn a lot of stylish hats in this city: She’s been a designer (of Sister Underwear, a lingerie and loungewear line that she launched and managed from 2003 to 2006), and the editor-in-chief of Vervegirl and Fuel. Now she’s focusing on her freelance writing career (with recent credits in Sweetspot.ca and ELLE Canada), her role as communications director for The Society, and being a committee member for Artbound.ca, a Free the Children initiative.

Sara (pictured above in Singapore) shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Top date spot

“If it’s a nice evening, then the rooftop terrace at Tati on Harbord is picture perfect. I’ve always liked the cozy booths at Lolita’s Lust on the Danforth—the atmosphere and the food never disappoint. For a hideaway that’s more hipster, you can’t go wrong with a table (inside or out on the patio) at Foxley on Ossington.”

Favourite vintage shop

“I don’t buy a lot of vintage…but if I did, then I’d certainly trust Kealan at 69 Vintage to hook me up.”

Place to buy birthday presents

“I used to have my own lingerie/loungewear line so I’d always let my girlfriends choose presents from the collections. Now that I no longer produce the range, I pick up gorgeous items from my friend Christina Remenyi at Fortnight Lingerie. For the new mummies in my life and other general gifts, I head to Ziggy’s at Home on College Street.”

Favourite place to go for a drink on the weekend (and drink of choice)

“It’s summer so anywhere with a patio will do. I’m partial to the Drake’s street-level patio and Terroni’s on Queen West. A Blanche de Chambly at the former, and a glass of red wine at the Italian resto, of course!”

To go for a drink on the weekend

“I live on Harbord (at least until the end of June) so my favourites on College are Kalendar and Utopia.”

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