Ungaro’s Lunch with Margaret & George

As fashion and fundraising go together like a hand in glove, it’s no surprise we’re tripping over fashion fundraisers in Toronto. But it’s not every day we’re treated to a megawatt caliber designer in the course of charitable giving.

Lunch with Margaret & George is that event. Lisa and George Corbo, the power couple behind one of the top boutiques in the city, George C, conjured up the idea for the event after a personal scare with cancer. When Emmannuel Gattuso, a customer and good friend of the Corbos, offered to put her philanthropic enthusiasm behind it, well – let there be lunch!

Coined Lunch with Margaret and George, the idea was simple: showcase a single designer’s collection during an unforgettable afternoon lunch. Make it intimate. Make it impactful. Make some money for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

I was fortunate to work closely on the event in its inaugural year with Giles Deacon. This year’s third annual event featured Emanuel Ungaro at the Art Gallery of Ontario. After a gorgeous lunch, guests were treated to Ungaro’s spring collection in a stunning display through the AGO’s Walker Court.

All photos by George Pimentel.

A Fashionable Art Tour

As summer wanes to an end, it begs the question – what did you do?  Where did you go?  And how you will spend the next few weeks? The summer of 2013 was blessed with an endless array of fashion exhibits.   Major cultural institutions around the world put fashion front and center.  What’s your pleasure?  Designer retrospective?  High end costume jewelry?  Queer fashion?  If you happen to be in any of these cities before the end of September, you’re in luck. 

CHICAGO

Friends of mine recently stumbled upon the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at The Art Institute of Chicago.  This internationally acclaimed exhibit lets you stroll through late 1800’s when Paris was the style capitol of the world. 
 
The exhibit’s description expands on the state of affairs in Paris: “In the second half of the 19th century, the modern fashion industry was born: designers like Charles Frederick Worth were transforming how clothing was made and marketed, department stores were on the rise, and fashion magazines were beginning to proliferate.”
 
Luscious life-size figure paintings by Monet, Renoir or Tissot are juxtaposed alongside the period costumes, and in some cases the actual clothing, that inspired them.  Through September 29.
 

TORONTO
The Design Exchange states the Christian Louboutin exhibit celebrates “20 years of design, artistry and magic.”  And if you need to ask, what’s magic got to do with it?  Then you don’t know Loubs.  Undoubtedly, if you love shoes you remember your first pair of red soles.  I hit the opening night (wearing my pink Loubouties, right) back in June and loved it, so this particular show comes personally recommended.

You can check out photos from an event FGI Toronto hosted at the DX just after the exhibit’s opening, but time is ticking.  You only have until September 15 to see the master’s magic before poof! – it’s gone.  Fret not Toronto, there’s more star power coming: if you like the intersection of music and fashion, then mark your calendar; the AGO opens David Bowie is on September 25.


NEW YORK

There’s a reason why the Museum at FIT fancies itself the Most Fashionable Museum in New York City. Because it’s the most fashionable museum in New York City.  Right now you can take in RetroSpective, an exhibit exploring the historical connections to contemporary fashion.  See what influenced McQueen, Balenciaga and Schiaparelli (through November 16). 
 
If you time your trip right, you can also catch A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (September 13 – January 4, 2014).  It is a remarkable undertaking to honor the contributions to fashion made by the LGBTQ community over 300 years.  FIT is the first museum to do so.  (Fashionable and socially conscious, go FIT!)
 
Meanwhile, for accessories fans, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design hosts the Collection of Barbara Berger.  Don’t know Barbara?  She is the daughter of an American diamond merchant and a hoarder of the most lovely kind.  Berger (still alive) has amassed one of the largest and finest collections of couture jewelry in the world.  Over 450 pieces of her 4,000 personal collection of “bijoux de couture” will be on display.  A portion of the exhibit closes September 22. 



LITTLE ROCK

photo by Getty Images
If you happen to find yourself in Little Rock, Arkansas — and who am I to suggest you wouldn’t? — by all means check out the Oscar de la Renta retrospective American Icon at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.  Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta moved to the States in the 1960’s where he quickly became a legend for his ready-to-wear designs.  He has been a favorite of Mrs. Clinton, particularly during her First Lady years.  Nothing personal Arkansas, but I pray this exhibit travels north for easier viewing.  Through December 1.


BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

LOS ANGELES
Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes (need we say more?!) is on at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Through September 8. 

SEATTLE
Also through September 8, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Seattle Art Museum.
 
LONDON (UK)
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980’s explores the relationship between catwalk and clubwear and how experimental designers of the day like Betty Jackson, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano helped reinvent British fashion. Through February 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
 
PARIS
The Mona Bismarck Center for Art and Culture features an exhibit curated by American Vogue contributing editor, Andre Leon Talley called The Little Black Dress.  Through September 22.
 

Caesarstone & Mackage: Home, Home on the Runway

The tents of World MasterCard Fashion Week have literally just come down and my reviews are in – Toronto’s fashion week sponsorship was happening

See, I’m always a fan of our design talent, but given my profession, I watch the logistics of fashion week with a more discerning eye than others.  That’s why sponsorship always intrigues me. 

IMG now has full-fledged parental control over the event, though they have been steering the sponsorship for a few a seasons now. Many activations took the experiential route to showcase their brand’s message. Target? A sponsored media lounge with power outlets, a lounge and a bar (convenience, style). Ritz-Carlton? Constant refreshments for media and VIPs (exceptional service). 5 gum? Endless packs meant we never once lamented unfresh breath (savior to an awkward situation).

It should surprise no one that home brands like Caesarstone and Korhani have aligned with fashion week. They may cover your floors and counters, but the nascence of these products is just as fashion-y as the shoes you’re wearing. 

Caesarstone’s fashion-y collection

Korhani proves it each fashion week with their popular runway show inspired by real life fashions. And honestly, with rugs priced $100 and less, how is a new throw rug for the fall different from a new fall handbag?

Korhani’s Great Gatsby-inspired collection
Korhani on the World MasterCard Fashion Week runway

Caesarstone also capitalized on fashion’s association with interiors. Beyond appearing as just a  fashion week sponsor this season, the company collaborated their Supernatural line with well-known outerwear label Mackage on a runway show and after party at The Spoke Club. “Trends in interior design are often influenced by fashion,” notes Fernando Mammoliti, CEO of Caesarstone. “We feel that the Mackage runway show will serve as the perfect platform to showcase new and innovative designs from both brands.”

This was a great example of how two brands can align in perfect harmony. The stone was subtly visible as a backdrop to Mackage’s runway show and as accessories adorning the models. Afterwards, at the Spoke, guests were treated to a fashion exhibit where Mackage models and Caesarstone’s Supernatural product were displayed over the club’s three floors. Of course the real fun was discovering what else was hidden on each floor — as after parties go, this one was epic. If the endless martinis and oyster bar didn’t impress, surely the waffle station did.

Subtle sponsorship speaks louder than words
Caesarstone’s runway accessories for Mackage
Caesarstone’s runway accessories for Mackage
Caesarstone product sprinkled throughout the Spoke Club