Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Control, ALT, Delight

When technology gets you down, is frozen and simply won’t comply the only thing left to do is reboot. The same can be said for fashion. Finding myself a little unimpressed with the Toronto mode mood I decided to head east in hopes of unearthing some haute new Québécois couture.


Destination: Montreal, a veritable pool of creativity and underground everything. Known for their ability to pair high-end designer with local up and comers I combed the city for any sign of French flare.


The trip began with a check into our hotel de jour, The Germain’s new boutique hotel located on the Southshore; The ALT Hotel.  Alternative and culture clubbed out, every detail from the lobby to the lofty suites screamed, “this is the place to be.” The hotel was stocked with all the typical boutique amenities and then some; flat screen TV’s, goose down duvets and designer pillows. It embodied a feeling that was tres tres Berlin with a Scandinavian twist. ALT certainly served up an arty slice of life with graphic modern treatments and even a DJ booth in the lobby.


Later that evening we dined with close personal friend and fellow McGill-ite Richard Beynon. Although finding the gorgeous two-floor loft in Montreal’s Little Italy was an adventure to say the least, once there it was well worth the GPS catastrophe that landed us more than fashionably late. Richard and his partner Richard served up a beautifully designed sushi smorgasbord and French white wine pairing.

 The surroundings were chic and minimal with an eastern flare. Buddha statues, a Koi pond and Roche Boubois furniture filled the lavish loft creating a sense of boutique lifestyle. Dressed in

Toronto green label Preloved and Dolce and Gabanna the Richards played the part of perfect host giving the first night in Montreal a jump start injection of style and sophistication.


After perhaps a few two many glasses of vino we made our way down to St.Catherine Street. The sound of Black Eyed Peas “Tonight’s Going To Be a Good Night,” blaring in the background set the perfect tone for our next stop at the Montreal Gay Village’s hot spot Saloon. It seemed that the Toronto village style standards had followed us all the way past border patrol to the streets of Montreal. Everywhere we looked American apparel V’s and Abercrombie tee’s married high-end denim, practically murdering my search for Bourgeois eclecticism. If nothing else, the ambiance of Saloon was a saving grace and welcome visual aperitif. Its fantastic micro patterned wallpaper, hot pink partitions and runway video instillation were refreshing saving graces to the resto-checkpoint.


Not long after and another bottle of wine down the hatch we met up with a DJ friend of ours at Parking nightclub. Downstairs in the club’s main room we were welcomed by yet another Toronto fashion stowaway. It seems we had stumbled upon a Superstein fashion show. The hometown fashion label, which is known for its graphic screen-printing and highly recognizable branding set up shop by the bar selling everything from the standard long sleeve shirts to hoodys.  By this point I decided to give up on that night’s quest for the nouveaux and just let the wave of Toronto tag alongs wash over me. Although I had seen nothing new in terms of fashion there was certainly something to be said for the Quebecois way of life. No matter where in the world you go, or what you happen to be looking for this FF blogger is certain. The most fabulous accessory and favorite label to wear are those you share the experience with; your best friends without compare.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Running with Scissors; Cutting Edge "Cut"ure.

Like the Phoenix risen from the ashes of over-it fashion, custom self-made clothing seems to be the new must have. By way of side window air con, a quick snip snip is all you need to change a drab garment into a crowd pleasing piece. Old shirts that were well on their way to the dumpster can magically be transformed into a night-out go to. 

Finding myself noticing more and more every night these razor back and sideless creations I decided to do some investigating of my own. I turned to fellow Champagne boy
 and best bud Paul Charbonneau.

"I really just felt sexier wearing them, and its easy to do. I just cut off the arms and then kept on cutting!"

This seemed simple enough, and so later that day I searched my own closet for a not so willing participant to perform surgery on. A couple of old gym shirts and a plain pajama tee wedged in the back of the closet seemed perfect candidates. And so, I began clipping away. Before long I was left with a piece that boasted less fabric than the pile on the floor- I would need to be on nipple patrol all night!

However scandalous, these transformed tops are now a clubbing fav of mine- I recommend layering them or pairing with a vest or blazer to dress them up. They also make great pool side lounge wear and perfect breathable club couture.Fabulous indeed, but a warning is in need. This behavior can become addictive and result with your wardrobe looking like the victim of a senseless slasher movie.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day and Night, Night and Day

When Fred Astaire sang the Cole Porter classic "Night and Day" in 1934's "The Gay Divorcee," I'm sure he had no idea how it would apply to fashion or the gays; married and divorced today.

This pride, the Champagne boys found themselves in a dilly of a pickle : The annual Pride kick off at Toronto's exclusive member's only Spoke club ( One hundred of the city's most eligible bachelors, handsome imports, and an open bar- sounds perfectly bubbly right? Wrong, the party comes with a hitch. Dressing for the event requires the finesse of a seasoned pro, for the soiree boasts a start time that makes dressing transitionally necessary, day and night- night and day.

Many men make the mistake of arriving looking a little too post walk of shame, that unmistakable jaunt home early in the morning wearing last nights clothes- tres embarrass. The key is to arrive in an ensemble that is clean and fresh for the day with a bit of an edge for evening. Most guys gravitate towards dark colors for night and neutrals for day wear, which is easy and works but who wants to be predictable.

On the other hand as sexy as those business suit types are its just not apropos too look like you just came from an office party. Luckily we found balance and truth in the meaning "Only you beneath the moon or under the sun," day or night the Champagne boys never disappoint.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Gettin Balsy @ The Kol Hope Blue Sapphire Ball

Somewhere just over the rainbow, and a little to the left fashionistas flocked- to this years gala de jour. Promoters rolled out the red carpet and draped themselves head to perfectly manicured toe in every shade of cerulean to sapphire. The Kol Hope Gala which raises awareness as well as cuts cheques for foundations such as The Hospital for Sick Kids and Easter Seals took place at Toronto's o-so-glamorous Fairmont Hotel.

The night also brought to light the questionably dull standardized gala gear question. Time
after time we watch boring bow ties and ball gowns lull us to sleep, draped on cardboard cutout celebs- but not tonight. Club Fashion host and Kol Hope creative director Jeff Rustia enforced a dress code to die for and posed for more then just the throng of paparazzi; a challenge- the best blue outfit award. The panel of judges included Designer Susie Love, Fashion Observer/Stylist Jefre Nicholls, CBC Star, Natalie Brown, and Fashion File host Adrian Mainella and Designer Host, Steve Sabados.
Winner, Alice Kippen stunned judges with a Carrie Bradshaw inspired 40's Dior shantung silk bubble frock and stomped the stiff competition in an electrifying orange stiletto. Other mentionable stand outers dawned Indian inspirations, ombre silk suits and made a literal splash with hand painted designer lapels.

The night was a spectacular suce
ss with performances that represented a global awareness from up-and-coming dance company Tournout, queen of the night Cassandra, a tempting tango duo and many more. Even costuming was a crowd pleasing inspiration with a programme that offered a taste of everything from Broadway to Bombay.

For those lucky enough to enjoy the V.I.P invite and literal red carpet treatment, access to one-on-one fashion fraternization was a veritable plus to the night. We rubbed elbows and exchanged tips with the creative crust of the event in the beautifully designed platinum donors room (Lester Events).

It was a refreshing night to say the least and this fashion blogger is looking forward to the next. The only question left on my mind is- what will next years theme be?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fashion Gilded Glitterati Gala

More than half a millennia ago the Aztec civilization payed homage to their divine deity the sun god with the most coveted precious metal on earth. This holiday party season , it seems the fashion fave crowd coined the same sacrificial focus- Gold !!!

Jeff Rustia's Holiday party, now in its second year of exclusivity, entertained its limited guest list to a night of platinum pleasures. The bubbly ran freely from gilded bottles of gold, and the menu of gold inspired morsles delivered, prooving that the best food always tastes as good as it looks.

Fashion heavy hitters: Anita Clarke, Gail McInnes, Susie Love, Sonja Andrick and DJ Jeff Kirkwood were all in attendance flaunting the fall seasons hottest and hardest-to-pull-off trends. 

The glamor of gold, of fur and of lace, custom couture and a hand painted face- it truly was a night of incredible company, fashion, and friends. The FF Champagne boys hosted, entertaining with an hilarious performance, choreographed by this years Black Essence award recipient for choreographer of the year; FF Champagne boy Paul Charbonneau.

A ticket to the hottest holiday fete dosn't come easy. And dressing for a FF holiday theme party can be as stressful as planning the party itself, so here's a couple of tips to stay on track. For the fashion first timer, don't try to be too bold. Play it safe taking the theme of the night not so seriously. Using a neutral base color ( black, grey, white etc.) plan the predominance of your outfit accessorizing with the theme, allow for one major focus that captures the intention of what ever your theme may be.

As the snow fell outside the party roared on inside Rustia's downtown luxe apartment with glasses of tiny bubbles clinking into the night.  For all in attendance, it certainly was the party of the holiday season. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tastastic @ Terroni's a Thirty Year Celebration

Once every decade or so there comes a person or two who inspires, encourages and delights. Last wednesday I had the pleasure of sitting down with both of them for a V.I.P dining experience thirty years in the making.
Honoree of the night and FF boy to boot, Jeff Kirkwood chose Terroni's newest, elegant destination to play host to his 30th, offering guests a seat at his upstairs exclusive table. Cheeky-geeky we arrived at Terroni's to already chilled glasses of the FF favorite, champagne. With no gondolier in sight and our accordionist gone awol, we toasted the next best thing this side of the pond. Terroni's ( first opened its doors in ninety two with little more than an espresso machine. Fifteen years later  Paolo Scoppio and Cosimo Mammoliti, friends and co-owners swung open the brass gilded doors to their newest location (and our table for the night) at 57a Adelaide St. E.

Delicious thin crust pizzas topped with luxury cheeses, designer deli meats, endless glasses of red wine and the most decadent flour-less dark chocolate cake (reason alone to visit the restaurant) were only a few items partaken of by those in attendance. With an intimate guest list and food fit for a king, one's attire must certainly be called into question- especially when dining with fashion royalty. Kirkwood's dynamic sense of personal style has always, for this FF boy, been finished so cleverly and sometimes not so subtly by his choice of accessories. I have often spent hours pining over the seemingly endless boxes of mouthwatering finds; indian inspired turquoise, pins and pendants propagated from his beginning in the bermudian paradise. 

Our choices for the night were based in the recent "frame" craze that has had everyone running to vintage paradise in search of 50's Raybans. The fad has even top eye-wear designers cranking the vintage inspired specs in record numbers. Frames which can be worn lens optional are great non-piercing options to accessorizing the face. Combined for the occasion with a fantastic suede Miu Miu broach and a tissue paper pocket square the outfit came together with a shirtless paired belted blazer. 

Man cleavage, fashion risk and fantastic food aside the evening could most certainly not be complete without the most fabulous accessory of all- amazing friends. So here is to you my dear friends and fashion brothers Jeff Kirkwood and Jeff Rustia who have given me the unmistakable answer to the question: "Whats in a name?"


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Haute Koko minus the Marshmallows in Montreal, PQ

Caution!! the beverage your about to consume is extremely hot- a warning most of us brush aside when read on the side of our morning Starbucks americano.  Guarded by a ten foot black steel horse the caution is implied for all lounge hoppers  at Montreal boutique hotel the Opus's hot new haute spot Koko.

Montreal, PQ a variable playground of night time pleasures, it boasts the highest concentration of club, bar and lounges in Canada. Not more than a mere four hour trip by car or under an hour by plane the french canadian city is an ideal weekend get-to for those who "love the nightlife" and want to boogie. While staying in Mtl we found minimal sanctuary and a place to hang our clothes at the Opus hotel ( but we also found "the" place to get our drinks- Koko. Hanging black chandeliers, turn of the century artwork and electric green runway were the first clues that we had found the place to be. 

Dressing for a night of dancing and drinks is certainly a different creature all together from piecing for an event. In the summer you don't want to be too hot and in winter- there is coat check. Its always easy to just throw on an H&M over produced tee and some dark denim, but with hundreds of others throwing in the towel and doing the same- you would be trendier just to electrical tape the word sheep on a white low American Apparel V-neck and call it a night. If you find yourself a little lazy the easiest thing to do is go back to basics with an anti-graphic treatment combo topped with a great accessory. Short shorts in an interesting and exciting punch color, light loose cardi's sans shirt and skinny strapped tanks are all great suggestions for the man looking to take risks.

Whatever you decide I strongly suggest pairing it with a smoldering hot sip of Koko before the place cools off and the crowd moves on.