Fashion-able: WMCFW shows we’re excited for

Seems like just moments ago that we wrapped another successful World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto, but here we are again: ready to soak in the looks that our Canadian designers have created for next fall and winter.

Even though we don’t want to think about another fall now that we’re in the homestretch toward spring, there’s still something exciting about brand new ways to wear leather and fur. Plus, we’re always pumped to spot the best in spring street style at the tents.
Check out (just a couple shows on) our can’t miss list for this season’s World MasterCard Fashion Week:


MIZ by Izzy Camilleri
Monday at 5:30 p.m. / Runway



Izzy is a vetran who designs for the confident woman. This collection will feature sleek separates in jersey, stretch wool twill and faux leather. A neutral colour palette incorporating houndstooth and animal-print has us thinking back to the Fall 2010 IZMA collection and its richness of attitude. 




Chloé Comme Parris

Monday 6:30 p.m. / Runway




The return of sisters Chloé and Parris Gordon breathes effortless, youthful cool into this season’s roster. A bit more New York than Paris, the girls’ focus on custom and hand-made elements make their wearable collection covetable.


Pink Tartan
Monday 7:30 p.m. / Runway




Kimberley Newport-Mimran wowed crowds this past season with her ability to incorporate a punk edge in a collection that was ultimately soft, sensual and ladylike (in the 50’s sense!). We can’t wait to see what she comes up with for fall – and what colour palette she’ll be working with.


Mercedes-Benz start up presents: DUY
Tuesday at 7 p.m. / Runway




Winner of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Start Up Award, Duy Nguyen will present his new collection this season. We are hoping to see more of his intricate pattern making at play in fall/winter layers.


Joe Fresh
Wednesday at 9 p.m. / Runway




The Mimran’s are taking over! It’s okay, we really don’t mind. Frequently enticed by the affordable, on-trend fashions available at Joe Fresh, we want a glimpse into what Joe will have in store for us this fall. And we will be on the look out for special guests on the runway – like Pat Cleveland (pictured above).


Soïa & Kyo
Thursday at 6 p.m. / Runway




Ilan
Elfassy,
designer of Soïa & Kyo (and sister Brand Mackage), says that this
season he has “channelled the timeless elegance and malleability of metals, such as
copper and nickel.” The Quebec-based brand is most renown for it’s winter-wear – a can’t miss given the season.



VAWK
Thursday at 8 p.m. / Runway




Luxury label VAWK, by Sunny Fong, pushed the boundaries last season with light-weight feminine fabrics, sharp metallics and revealing cuts. We’d be OK with another take on the awesome gold cone bra above.


Travis Taddeo
Friday at 4 p.m. / Studio




Expect Travis Taddeo to own the studio this season with his signature raw, minimalist and edgy style. Known for pushing conventional expectations, we are looking forward to seeing what his unique blends of street wear and luxury will bring this year.


Stephan Caras
Friday at 7 p.m. / Runway




Established, Toronto-based designer Stephan is rejoining Toronto’s official fashion scene this season. We can’t contain our Canadian glee at the thought of seeing the master of collections that incorporate femininity and movement present on home turf.


Pavoni
Friday at 8 p.m. / Runway




Mike Derderian & Gianni Falcone know how to make a woman feel like a queen. Literally. The detailing on their dresses is so delicate it makes this Fourth-Floorer feel faint. Hope you’ve already RSVP’d.


We could go on. Get the full calendar here. Ladies, don your gem-toned or graphic print dresses and men lace up those brightly soled shoes – this is a season you don’t want to miss.

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Fave Five: Brunch

Ah
brunch. If there is one thing the 416 and the 905 can agree on, it’s that brunch is bliss.
Persistent scorn for frigid February – and the accompanying lament: why am I
still living here? – melts away to reveal a fondness for the winter wonderland
we call home when we’re cozied up at one of our favourite joints crunching on
bacon and buttering scones. It’s more difficult to choose a top brunch spot in
Toronto than whether we want a coffee or a Caesar with our eggs benny so, heck
lazy-Sunday-lovers, we’re not gonna do it! 


Here are five faves. We’re open to
suggestions for our next post (tweet us @rockitpromo) and maybe a mimosa too…

Celebrating its ninth birthday next week (with a kick-ass To The Nines bash), The Drake Hotel is a neighbourhood staple. Offering comfort food with it’s signature casually opulent flare, we love everything on the menu. Bonus points for the larger-than-average seating area (with a choice between casual café, lounge and dining room) and extended serving time (brunch goes until 4 p.m.). Must try: warm scone share plate.
1150 Queen St. W.


Only a couple years ago this bright, cheerful locale – where coffee is served in romantic china tea cups – was a dingy, dark illegal after-hours club. We’re glad a passion for food and elbow grease (thanks Orwell?) led to the operation of L’Ouvrier by Angus Bennett. The menu is modestly sized, but contains something for everyone, from the health nut to the heart-attack-challenger. Must try: potato rosti, smoked salmon, crème fraîche, arugula, fried shallots, and capers.
791 Dundas St. W.


Somehow Saving Grace comes off as cozy rather than tiny. There is no arguing the fact that elbow room is at a premium but the large windows and potted plants make the space bright and welcoming. The food is spot on and specials vary daily, just be prepared for a wait to get in. Must try: French toast with caramelized bananas.
907 Dundas St. W.
Welcome to a less complicated time. Aunties and Uncles is unpretentious (we love the retro décor!) and operates on the fresh-is-best mentality. Inexpensive and a reliable hangover cure we can’t imagine the brunch scene without this old standby. Must try: omelette of the day.
74 Lippincott St.

Not all our Sundays are lazy. And when we’re looking for a little excitement we turn to the cultural hub of downtown: Toronto’s Soho House. They pair extravagant, healthy brunch spreads with event programming. It’s a members-only club, so if you haven’t got a membership, cozy up to someone that does. It’s well worth it. Must try: to die for croissants.
192 Adelaide St. W.

Media, Darling: Sharlene Chiu

Sharlene Chiu was born in Vancouver and graduated from Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts program in 2005. Before starting MTV News Canada, Chiu helped launch MTV
in Canada in 2006, and worked behind-the-scenes as a segment producer for MTV
Live
. This included producing a music segment that ran on the show called On
the Radar
, where she established an exceptional reputation for selecting
and featuring new independent bands. 

Chiu introduced MTV News to Canada as a weekly segment
on the original hour long version of MTV Live. The regular segment featured
her traveling around the world reporting on music trends and covering
festivals such as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Osheaga, V Festival, and T in the
Park. This included over 250 honest and entertaining interviews with a wide range of artists, including
Coldplay, Rihanna, Kings of Leon,
Cee Lo Green, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and Feist.  

After winning the 2009 Travel Journalism Award presented by
VisitBritain for Best in Broadcast for her special, MTV News Pounds Britain,
Chiu created SHARLENE VS., an MTV News music travel series that takes
viewers beyond where the tourists go. In each city, Chiu meets artists of all kinds who take her under their helm, showing off unique, off-the-beaten-track spots that are special to them.

Photo credit: MTV Canada
Twitter: @sharlenechiu
Website: news.mtv.ca

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers
were on the horizon?
I
had always wanted to do music journalism on television when I was growing up.
If I didn’t go for that dream job, I would have gone into photography, which
was also a huge passion of mine as a kid.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Five
years from now, I hope I have my own production company creating badass TV
shows internationally in the food and travel realm.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Patience
and perseverance!

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I’ve
been obsessed with Nowness.com since its inception 3 years ago – they feature
the brightest, most innovative artists in fashion, food, music, film, and art
in wonderfully written articles and beautifully shot film forms. I also love
watching the video segments on Vice like “Munchies.”

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Cat
Power in 2008. This was just after she had released the album, “Jukebox,” and
had gone through a rather public hospitalization/breakdown. She’s one of my
favorite music artists ever and I remember how easy this interview went. We
chatted for about half an hour and she was incredibly sweet and candid about her
childhood and her struggles with alcohol and performing live. The
press/interview grind can get monotonous, so it’s rare you get someone who’s so
open, genuine, and unrehearsed.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
From
my mom: “Work hard and never give up!”

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Follow
your instincts and (this one’s a hard one) try not to worry.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know
who you are reaching out to and make the pitch personal. For example, certain
publicists know I’m a sucker for knowing what’s new in music, fashion, food,
film, and travel so when something comes up in those areas, I get a personal
email with a simple “heads up, you’re gonna love this…” I see so many generic press
releases so this helps to grab my attention.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about
#wins.
I
was at an event where manicures were being offered so of course I indulged and
while my nails were getting painted, I was telling the nail artist what a horrible
time I was having with my lips cracking and peeling out of nowhere. The
loveliest PR pro was sitting beside me and told me about a product that helped
her with her lips. The next day, I got a package with the said product and a
note saying how fun it was to hang out and that she hopes that the product
helps like it did for her. It was so unexpected and memorable.

I hate?
Liars.

I love?
Laughing.

Reading?
Cook
books.

Best place on earth?
My
bed.

Hero?
My
parents.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Instagram.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Media, Darling: Hannah Yakobi

Hannah Yakobi is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist.
Throughout her career, she has written for the
National Post, OK! Magazine,
Canwest newspaper network and dozens of publications worldwide. She is
currently the editor-in-chief of
FAJO Magazine, an international publication with staff in
Canada, U.S., U.K. and Italy.


Over the past decade, Yakobi has interviewed and photographed many fashion
and entertainment icons, including John Fluevog, Mariah Carey, Jeanne Beker,
Enrique Iglesias, Deepak Chopra, Catherine Malandrino, Paul Venoit and Bryan Adams. A graduate of Carleton University‘s renowned school of journalism,
Yakobi speaks four languages and has lived in five countries. In her free time,
she enjoys raising awareness and funds for various Canadian and international
charities.



Dress by David Dixon. Photography
by Robin Gartner for FAJO Magazine.



Twitter: @FajoMagazine,
@HannahYakobi

Web: www.fajomagazine.com 



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on
the horizon? 

My career trajectory was somewhat unpredictable: I wanted to be a ballet dancer when I was very young (who didn’t?), for many years I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer (I even took some courses)
and later I briefly thought psychology was the field for me. But then, at 18, I became a
reporter and have never looked back. 


Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’d like to continue to do exactly what I’m
doing now, but on an even larger scale.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
You need to be hard-working and dedicated. Some
people have an expectation that fashion is all about glamour and fabulous
parties – it certainly does have that, but in order to stay in this industry
for a long time, you need to earn it. Expect long hours and plenty of stress.
When you start, say “yes” to almost everything. And never be rude to anyone –
it’s a small industry and the word about bad behaviour travels fast. 


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I grew up reading Harper’s Bazaar, so that
publication has always had a very special place in my heart. And I love the
British edition of Glamour, the small, mini-size version – I’ve been reading it
for years.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
Dominique Szabo, Senior Vice-President of Estee
Lauder. She was remarkable on every level.


Worst?
This is a hard question. I’ve had some
interviews that didn’t start on a good note. But almost always, after chatting
with each other, the interviewee and I were able to get the conversation
flowing.



Many of my friends who are also journalists
frequently tell me crazy stories about some of their interviews. I think I have
been lucky to never experience that. At least – not yet.   


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“University education is very important” is what
my grandfather always used to say. When I got my degree, I understood the value
of those words.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Hard work pays off. 

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Do the research before you contact media folks.
If someone says they are not interested in a pitch, do not pressure them.
Maintain relationships with people. 


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The folks at National PR. They are quite
amazing.


I hate?
Cold weather, pretentious behaviour,
unprofessionalism. 


I love?
Charity work, hosting parties, travel and
getting my hair done. 


Reading?
About to re-read Life of Pi. Just saw the movie
in December and loved it, so decided to read the book again.  


Best place on earth?
Barcelona, Spain.

Dinner guest?
Valentino Garavani. I have great respect for
that man. 


Hero?
My mother. She is an incredible woman, who has
dedicated her life to my sister and I. She has had quite a spectacular career,
and always has incredible business ideas. 


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Instagram.

Pool or ocean?
Can I say “the sea”? Mediterranean sea!

Voicemail or email?
If you want to chat, I’m on my phone. If you
want a response right away and it has to do with business, email is where you
can find me.

Media, Darling: Malcolm Johnston

Malcolm Johnston is the front of book editor at Toronto Life magazine. His work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, the Globe and Mail, National Post and more.  



Twitter: @malcjohnston
Website: torontolife.com


Did you always want
to be in the media?
No,
but I suppose I was always decent at putting words together on paper (there’s
gotta be a better way to say that) and eventually realized it was a natural fit.
Along the way I was a sports-camp counsellor and a house painter, taught some
ladies in Burlington how to throw a Frisbee for their dogs – for which I pocketed
a cool, tax-free $60 – contemplated law school and wrote an anti-money laundering
textbook for bank employees.


Where would you like to be five years from now?

Same place and job, but with more abbreviations after my name.

Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
Suppress
the urge to create a personal brand. You’ll look silly. Just produce great work
and everything will be fine.

What are your
favourite media outlets, not including your own?

Best interview you’ve
ever had?
Recently?
TSN SportsCentre anchor Jay Onrait was pretty cool. We consumed numerous
“brewskis” at his local in Kensington and blabbed for a couple of hours. Very nice
guy and highly candid, which is key. Other notables: Malin Akerman.

Worst?
Scott Speedman,
TIFF 2010. He was perfectly polite; I was unprepared. Never again.

Best advice you’ve
ever been given?
“It
takes all types in this world” – my parents.

What rule(s) do you
live your life by?
Don’t
act like you’re irreplaceable.

What’s the most
important tip you can give PR pros?
For
the love of Christmas, read the publication before you pitch to it.

Best experience
you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It’s
hit and miss. Those who aren’t control freaks / habitual hoverers are infinitely
preferred.


I hate?
Sloth—the
habit. On the animal, I’m neutral.


I love?

Baseball, coffee.

Reading?
That
too!


Best place on earth?
Laurentian
Mountains, Quebec.

Dinner guest?
My
friend Lowell.

Hero?
My
pops. He’s a gentleman, a battler and very intelligent. Ma ain’t so bad,
neither.

Favourite app (or
whatever you are downloading these days)?
theScore
Mobile; AnkiDroid, a French language app.


Pool or ocean?

Both beat winter in Canada. If I were forced at gunpoint to choose…that
would be a very bizarre scenario. Ocean!

Voicemail or email?
If
it’s a spicy scoop and you don’t want to write it down, call, and quick!
Otherwise, email, please and thanks.

Media, Darling: Liem Vu

Liem Vu is the news/social media host of The Morning Show on Global. Before landing his current hosting gig, his passion for storytelling has brought him to the front lines of breaking news. He has written for the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and hosted a series of features for MTV News, focusing on issues like suicide and the radicalization of Somali-Canadian youth.



During the G20 summit in Toronto, Vu was detained by riot police in the Queen St. ‘kettle’ while shooting a video report for the PostPrior to his career as a journalist, he moonlighted as the lead singer of a barbershop quartet called ‘The TemptAsians,’ performing at weddings. 

Image courtesy of The Morning Show on Global.



Twitter: @liemvu
Website: morningshow.ca 


Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon?

I always knew I wanted to do something related
to storytelling. In high school I wrote for the student newspaper, which helped
me push through my undergraduate and graduate studies. It didn’t matter if it
was print, broadcast, or radio, I was satisfied as long as I was able to tell
someone’s story well.

Where would you like to be five years from
now?

Hopefully, I’ll still be working in
television! There are so many creative opportunities in the TV world that I
don’t think I’ll ever get bored. I honestly haven’t even thought that far ahead.
With the launch of
The Morning Show across Canada, I’m focused on
coming up with new ways to tell different stories that resonate with viewers
across the country.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?

Intern. Intern. Intern. I know the financial
reality of being an unpaid intern may not be that appealing, however it’s the
best way to cut your teeth in the media world. People say you should actively
network and shake hands, but I have a different view on things. You shouldn’t pre-occupy yourself with “networking.” Yes, it’s important, but the key is to do
good work. Doing good work will get you noticed, not just schmoozing. Trust me…I
was a shy 240-pound guy seven years ago…
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own? 

Full disclosure: I love the Oprah Winfrey
Network. Next Chapter and Master Class are such inspirational shows. The
types of interviews she conducts inspire me to pick up my journalistic game on a
weekly basis.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
It was a series of interviews I did for MTV
News about Somali-Canadian youth in Toronto’s Little Mogadishu neighbourhood.
Since 2005, over 30 young Somali-Canadians died because of violence and at least
another 30 were recruited by a terrorist group called Al-Shabab. I had the
opportunity to interview a man who spent six months in the extremist group along
with young men who had lost their friends. It was an eye-opening experience that
I’ll never forget.
Worst?
There are always bad interviews, but you just
got to roll with it.
Best advice you’ve ever been
given?

Treat others how you want to be treated, and be
humble.
What rule(s) do you live your life
by?

Sleep. Nap. Exercise. It’s the only way you
can survive the early morning TV grind!
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?

Be willing to discuss the direction of an
interview/segment. As Vanilla Ice once said: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.

Working with High Road Communications for my
inside look at Facebook Canada HQ. And working with APEX PR for my feature on
Google Canada. Both pieces turned out amazing, thanks to their patience and
willingness to give me access to these unique office spaces.
I hate?
Stepping on gum.
I love?
Spinning. For real.
Reading?
Toronto Life. Esquire. The Walrus. Daily
newspapers.
Best place on earth?
Canada!
Dinner guest?
Mark Zuckerberg. That man fascinates me…
Hero?
My parents. They risked their lives by
escaping the Vietnam war just so I could have better opportunities. I will be
forever grateful.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?

Instagram
Pool or ocean?
Ocean.
Voicemail or email?
Email. I always forget to check
voicemail.

Stage Write: Next Stage Theatre Festival

January. Ahhhh, January. Post-holidays, we can be a bit slow moving but in our ‘hood, there’s always
something exciting happening that helps us pick up the pace. The first month of every year, in the icy cold of winter,
The Toronto Fringe Festival warms us up with the hottest indie theatre in the
city AND a heated beer tent. In true Fringe style, the tickets are cheap, the
beer is cold, and the shows are hot.


Held
at the Factory Theatre and called the Next Stage
Theatre Festival
, this mini-theatre-fest is a curated line-up of the best independent theatre in Canada that runs from today until Sunday, January 13. In its 6th season, at #NSTF, you’ll see raw, uncensored and exciting
new work from the city’s most vibrant up-and-coming talent. Plus, since the
diverse line-up is chosen by a panel of industry pros, you can trust that the
shows will be solid. Past Next Stage hits have gotten Dora Award nods, remounts
at leading theatres across the country and off-Broadway productions in NYC. Oh,
and have we mentioned tickets are just $15 and box office proceeds go right
back to the artists you see on stage?

Our resident drama queens pick the shows you shouldn’t miss this
week:

Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival

Written by brilliant (and award-winning, NBD) playwright Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman, Sudden
Death
examines the dark underbelly of Canada’s
national pastime to uproariously tragic effect. With the dashing (and super
talented) Tony Nappo starring as hockey legend John “Rambo” Kordic
and the stunning (rock-it promo alum) Melissa Jane Shaw, we can’t wait to see
this one.

Factory Theatre Mainspace: January 2 to 13.


Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival

Fan of Game of Thrones or not, audiences will love Throne of
Games
, a hilarious and unscripted interpretation of the bestselling
medieval fantasy novels that inspired the award-winning HBO series. Directed by acclaimed
actor and improviser Colin Munch and featuring a tour de force cast of Canada’s
most brilliant comedic performers, this one promises belly laughs and even
possible nudity (awesome).

Factory Theatre Mainspace: January 2 to 13.


Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival

One of the hottest shows at Summerworks 2010, Post Eden is
a ‘live film’ about a fantastical day in the life of a fractured suburban
family. Inspired by interviews conducted with actual
residents of Richmond Hill, playwright/director Jordan Tannahill creates a
multimedia production that is a blur between a
documentary and a live theatre show. 

Factory Studio: Thursday, January 3 to 13.


Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival

The 2012 Best-of-the-Fringe hit is back a sold-out run. This comedy (with guts)
about fate, pheromones and the TTC follows Anabel, who gives her heart to a
stranger who disappears with it. With playwright Julia Lederer playing the lead
role alongside Martha Ross and Robin Archer, this show touches on a bunch
of things we like: GoogleShrink, purple plaid and
rom-coms. 

Factory Studio: January 2 to 13.


Image courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival

Originally performed in a church during Fringe 2011, AWAKE is a
current, cutting show that takes you deep into the heart of one of Toronto’s
most violent neighbourhoods. Set during the funeral of a victim of gun
violence, the production explores the ripple effect of gangs within a
community. Developed over three years, the script was created entirely based on
interviews with mothers who lost sons, gang members, outreach works and police.

Factory Theatre Mainspace: January 3 to 15.

With ten plays on three stages over twelve days you might as well
kick off 2013 by seeing some of the best theatre you’ll see all year. For full
festival listings, to book tickets, or more details, visit http://fringetoronto.com/next-stage-festival/ or call 416.966.1062. Hell, while you’re at it, why not donate to The Toronto Fringe… didn’t you resolve to be a better person this year? 

See you in the beer tent for a hot toddy (or something colder) between shows!

For complete Next Stage Theatre Festival listings click here.