LEANNE DELAP: At the amfAR gala

Shinan Govani with Ciara Hunt at the amfAR/Dignitas Cinema Against AIDS fundraiser.

Story by Leanne Delap. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

Name-dropping is crass. Unless you are a professional. Panty-flashing personal journalism is worse. But now that we have that out of the way, I’m left with dilemma of how I gossip about a gossip columnist who is a friend.

People who go to black-tie galas all the time mark the seasons differently: April through June, then September through November are society’s hot zones. I used to take my gowns out to play in heavy rotation, but except for spin-around-the-dancefloor loans to girlfriends, my finery has been gathering dust. So I was excited and uncharacteristically nervous about the recent amfAR/Dignitas fundraiser “Cinema Against AIDS” at the Carlu.

The event was notable not just for the million dollars raised for AIDS research, but because it stands as the one glossy event at TIFF for which you can buy your way into a room to rub elbows with celebrities. I knew it would be like riding a bicycle, but I had become invested in the success of the event because I had spent the spring and summer  listening to my dear friend Shinan Govani (one of the gala’s three chairs, alongside departing Hello! editrix Ciara Hunt and Elisa Nuyten, one of this city’s most active arts advocates).

Govani is the Post’s jewel-in-the-crown social columnist (and novelist—Boldface Names, his debut fictional take on the international rabble that are his subject, was a deftly subversive volley).

It has been dead-good fun watching how his growing success and clout plays out in the real world, and a gas to watch how people simultaneously suck up and are wary of his sharp pen. I’d wager there is not a salon or soiree on the world stage to which he would not be welcomed these days. As a side note, he works damned hard, but he really has a lot of fun, which makes it all so much more of an accomplishment.

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TALK TO ME: Sarah Nicole Prickett, part II

Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

This is the second part of our conversation with fashion writer Sarah Nicole Prickett. You can read the first part here.

You’re known for your personal style. Have you always liked getting dressed? When did you first realize that you had a look?

“Always liked getting dressed. Not always good at it! In my seventeenth summer, I was at a Christian youth conference in Michigan—you heard me—and as part of some game, we had to divide into groups and choose the best-dressed from each. I won in my group. I was wearing a red-and-pink-striped shirt, red backless sneakers, and a red visor.”

What are the inspirations for your current look?

“My style is all about what I wasn’t in the ’90s: grungy, sexy, cool, platform-heeled, blonde, etc. I heart the teen movie wardrobes of that decade. But I’m growing up, and so, returning to prepster obsessions: stripes, pleats, a trench as a dress, a white shirt as a dress, a cardigan as a dress… I’ll wear anything as a dress.”

Does the term It girl make you smile? Or…

“Smirk? Look, if I were living in New York, I’d be one of a thousand girls like me. Only here do I catch hell and attention for having a certain haircut or attitude, or for going to parties and getting up to bitch about them the next day. Shinan Govani, the shrewdest observer, tweeted something about me being an It girl by positioning myself as the anti It Girl. Such adroit positioning. I must have done it in my sleep.”

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TALK TO ME: Nathalie Atkinson, part I

Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

Nathalie Atkinson is the style columnist for the National Post, and writes about arts, culture and fashion for many magazines, including ELLE Canada. She’s smart, tough, opinionated, and can always be counted on to elevate the dialogue in an industry that is too easily dismissed as being silly or frivolous. (She’s fun on Twitter too.) Put simply, Nathalie is one of the best we have. Recently, she answered The Style Notebook’s weekly “Talk to Me” questionnaire.

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