Fashion-able: The first two days of World Mastercard Fashion Week

Baby pigs! Baby pigs! The talk of the first night of World Mastercard Fashion Week was definitely the cute baby pigs being carried down the runway by models at the Korhani show. 
Aside from the cute little porkers, the always-interesting runway showcase of home rugs had some very cool concepts, like the three models wearing rugs with giant faces woven into them. 


Holt Renfrew always puts on a great show of Canadian designers, and this season was no exception. We especially loved the all-Canadian music that ran throughout the show. Some looks that stood out for us include Twenty Cluny‘s pretty, feminine cocktail dresses… 


Smythe‘s fun outerwear pieces…. 
and Jeremy Laing‘s…well, everything.


The highlight of the Pavoni show was all of the elegant gowns that flowed one after the other. This designer is definitely someone to look to for a red carpet event. 

We loved the detailing on the shoulders of this piece:


Anything richly red, with layers upon layers of draped fabric and body-hugging attributes, gets our thumbs up:


Yesterday the tents featured Adrian Wu, Laura Siegel, Sid Neigum, Chloe comme Parris, Martin Lim, Soia & Kyo, Lundström Collection and Matis by Lucian Matis. There were definitely favourites from every show, but here are a few highlights: 

Laura Siegel’s layered pieces would look perfectly at home on Toronto’s streets. 
Chloe comme Parris had details we loved – coiled braids, dark red lips, heels with chains and studs on pants. We also loved the floral prints in this dress. 


Soia & Kyo’s cozy, luxe coats and jackets had us excited about what we’ll purchase for next winter, even though we’re just barely out of this one.

This printed top was one of our top picks from the Matis by Lucian Matis show that closed the evening. 

Fashion week is off to a strong start, and we can’t wait to see what else is in store for the rest of the week!

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We’re Not Just Pretty: Deb McCain

Deb has over 15 years of experience in public relations and communications.  After completing her Master’s degree at the London School of Economics, she worked as a communications advisor to cabinet ministers in the Ontario Government before rounding out her communications experience across a number of sectors with Hill & Knowlton and GCI Group in Toronto and Hill & Knowlton, New York. Deb worked in-house for a media agency during the dotcom boom, and ultimately returned to Toronto to set up her own shop, launching Deb McCain Communications in 2004.


Since starting DMC, Deb has worked with many HGTV personalities from Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe to Peter Fallico, Suzanne Dimma and the original Designer Guys, Steven & Chris.  She was involved with the creation of
Inside Entertainment magazine and FQ Magazine (with editor Jeanne Beker) and has worked extensively with Canadian fashion brands Ron White, Smythe jackets and Dealuxe. Deb has substantial experience in Canadian television across a range of production companies and networks including CBC, CTV, W Network, HGTV, Slice, Discovery and TVO.

DMC works with a number of charitable initiatives throughout the year including CAMH (Unmasked Fundraiser 2008-2011), The Ron White Foundation (White Knight Galas 2009-2011), The Writer’s Trust (Gala Dinner 2010), and Casey House (Snowball 2012). Outside of the office, Deb stays busy on the home front with a husband and two young girls.


How long have you been in your current position?
10 years.

How does your company leverage PR (i.e. to generate press, to build reputation, to manage crisis communications, etc)?
We use media to extend our client’s brands. We look for opportunities to layer stories and create multiple points of contact. We know the right people to get it done.

What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member (PR degree, internships, etc.)?
Strong knowledge in the sector and loads of initiative.

Who gave you your first big career break?
Mike Coates, CEO of Hill & Knowlton Canada. He let me talk him into transferring me to the New York office. The rest is history. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior?
Know your journalists and what they’re writing about. Read as much as you can and stay current. Some of the best pitches have a hook that ties in with this week’s news.

What do you love most about your job?
The thrill of the kill.  There’s nothing like opening  three newspapers on a Saturday morning and seeing our stuff in ALL of them.

If you weren’t doing PR, what would you do?
I’m a media junkie so I don’t know. Maybe work in TV? Or magazines? I should definitely NOT own a bar.

A little more from the fourth floor:

Website:
TorontoLife.com, Twitter, Dealuxe.ca, LaineyGossip.

Designer:
Smythe – I’m biased, but I’ve loved their stuff since day one and probably have one of the largest existing collections outside of the designers themselves (and Sarah Richardson).

Store:
Again, biased…Ron White Shoes. But, c’mon, where else can you go and get a foot massage and luxury water (chilled or room temp) and get to try on things for hours??

Book:  
Naked by David Sedaris and Catcher in the Rye both have a perm spot on my nightstand. Guiltily half-read at the moment is My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler.

Snack:
Rainforest crisps with any and all cheeses.

Sexy: 
Barry White.

Inspiration:
My daughters Davis and Daphne.

Drink:
Plenty of white wine.

Motto in two words:
Under promise/over deliver (take your pick but they are best together).

Idea of perfect happiness:
The sweetspot of the weekend – Friday night 7 to 11 p.m.

Indulgence: 
Poutine.

Celebrity crush:
Owen Wilson, hands down.

Favourite tweeter to follow: 
@j_knoxy, @debgee, @MissMarlowG, @shinangovani.

City Living: Boutique Shopping in Toronto

The need for a new fall wardrobe has us dreaming of the shops of New York, L.A., Paris and London. We’re not saying Toronto is lacking in the shopping department, our office is just a stone’s throw away from many great stores on Queen Street after all, but the appeal of stores like H&M and Zara begin to wear thin when you show up to work and three other girls are wearing the same shirt as you. Here are three boutiques that we think will satisfy your craving for a shopping vacation.

Uptown: Canopy Blue (2582 Yonge St., just north of Eglinton)


Image source.

For those of us who live north of Bloor, it’s always a bonus to be able to get our shopping fix right in our own area. Squeezed in between Gap Kids, West 49 and Chocky’s, Canopy Blue is a shopping oasis in a desert of big chains and family friendly stores. Since opening in 2008, owners Nicole Bitove and Candice Ilton have created a store with a laid back vibe and selection of designers that rival any boutique in L.A. From T-shirts to black tie, designers include Smythe, Herve Leger, J Brand, and Jay Godfrey, to name just a few.  

Midtown: The Narwhal (8 Price St., Suite 101, just south of Summerhill station)

Image source.

We think you’ll agree that The Narwhal has brought shopping in Toronto to a new level. Situated a little off the beaten shopping track, you can find the store directly across from the Summerhill LCBO in Rosedale. When walking through the doors of the Narwhal, you are immediately surrounded by all things beautiful, and we don’t just mean the clothes. With a background in interior design, co-owner Sydney Wills has created an environment worthy of the clothes it houses. With designers like Acne, Dolce Vita, Helmut Lang, House of Harlow, and Haute Hippie, we warn, you may want to take out a loan and buy everything in the store; we did.
Downtown: Jonathan + Olivia (49 Ossington Ave., at Queen)

We just about died when we heard there was going to be a store in Toronto that sold Topshop. Excited by the prospect of getting to shop at our favourite London-based store, we got there as soon as humanly possible and were not disappointed. While Topshop was the initial draw, the designers that continue to fill the racks like Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs and Pamela Love make it hands down one of the best boutiques in the city. 

When it comes to shopping, these stores really are a breath of fresh air. We guarantee you won’t miss the big crowds, annoying sales associates and impersonal experience of big box store shopping.  You may need to spend a little more, but it’s worth it. 

What’s your favourite boutique in Toronto? Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below.

A visit from….Joanna Track

We love a savvy business woman, so we were super excited when Joanna Track popped up to the fourth floor to tell us all about her latest venture, Dealuxe. Read on to learn more about this inspirational lady.

Joanna is the co-founder and CEO of Dealuxe. She has over 15 years experience in marketing, business strategy, branding and advertising.

After earning a BA in Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario and an MBA in Finance at Schulich School of Business, she worked in the marketing departments of a variety of companies including The Loyalty Group (AIR MILES) and Club Monaco, before landing at Ogilvy & Mather. Joanna built a career at Ogilvy over six years, working on key global accounts, including Amex, FedEx and SAP, doing everything from Brand Advertising to Direct Marketing to Web. Her stint at Ogilvy took her to New York City, where she worked for a year as an Account Director and honed her skills as a marketer, before returning to the Toronto office in the same role.

Joanna’s entrepreneurial spirit grew strong and in 2004, Sweetspot was born.  Seven years, three websites (Sweetspot, Sweetmama, Sweethome), six newsletters, and over 100,000 subscribers later, Sweetspot.ca is the ultimate destination for Canadian women to stay in the know about what’s new and fabulous in their city.  In July 2006, Rogers Publishing recognized this success and purchased a stake in the company, and then acquired the remainder of the company in early 2011.

Joanna has become one of the most well-known and respected digital entrepreneurs in Canada.  She is often invited to speak at business and consumer events and is frequently featured in the media on entrepreneurial and digital business matters.

Twitter: @DealuxeCEO

Where did your inspiration for Dealuxe.ca come from?
As a consumer I was always frustrated with the process of shopping in the US because of unknown duties, returns and shipping fees.  I realized there was a gap in the Canadian marketplace to offer a premier online experience eliminating the barriers from shopping in the states.


What is your idea of a “savvy shopper”?
1. High and Low – someone who knows how to pair investment pieces with the trend of the moment.
2. Versatility – know how to wear one item in many different ways.  Maximize your statement pieces.
3. Confidence – wear what’s right for you and avoid making impulse purchases just because something is trendy.


You were dubbed a “Yummy Mummy” by the Toronto Star. What are your fashion tips for moms?

Try to invest in items that fit well and are functional.  For instance, a classic trench coat, like the Smythe Double Breasted Nylon Jacket, or a pair of dark denim skinnies like the Rich and Skinny Sleek Denim.  


Accessorizing is also key.  It can take your outfit from casual to chic in an instant.


What is the first section of the newspaper that you read?

The Style section! Followed by the business section, of course.


You have mentioned that your grandmother was a shopaholic. What is one trend of her era that you would be timid to try out? One that you would love to try out?
Trend to try: super glam style. Heels, red lipstick, dresses, etc. They knew how to dress to impress back then.


Trend to avoid: I would skip the fur fetish. That was very popular in my grandmothers’ day, but not so much now.


Fave spots to shop in Toronto?
Dealuxe, Corbo, Nyla, Joe Fresh and Gee Beauty.



Thanks Joanna, we loved chatting with you. Come back soon!

*We’re giving away $50 to spend on wonderful items from Dealuxe.ca. To win, tweet us @rockitpromo and tell us what you’d love to buy!
UPDATE: Thanks to all who participated. The winner is @kristinabreckon. Congratulations!

 

LGFW: The first two nights and what we loved

On Monday, the doors to LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oréal Paris officially opened. For those without passes, the Fourth Floor is taking you to the runway’s front row.
Holt Renfrew took care of business with their show “Can’t Live Without Canadian Fashion”.
The country’s leading retailer of high-end fashion celebrated our homegrown talent, sending spectacular looks from Todd Lynn, Jeremy Laing, Lida Baday, Ezra and Greta Constantine, Pink Tartan, Wings + Horns, Smythe, Twenty Cluny, Denis Gagnon and Canada Goose down the runway. 
Here are some of our fave looks. 
Denis Gagnon’s brightly coloured tights paired with chic dresses and big wedges. 
Smythe’s pale blue coat with camel-coloured leather details. 

Jeremy Laing’s wicked combos of textiles, prints, colours and silhouettes. Especially this one.


All images courtesy of Toronto Life.
Bringing fur innovation to the runway, Izma by Izzy Camilleri and Adrian Mainella combines luxury and warmth. Made from Canadian wild fur, Izma designs are classic pieces with modern versatility. Models wore the luxe furs as black jackets, neutral stoles and as accents on blazers. We loved the sexy, 1920s-inspired styling, including red lips, rich velvet and curly bobs. Clearly, Izma is chicest way to stay warm during the coldest of Canadian winters. 
 All images courtesy of the Toronto Sun.
 
The brother and sister duo behind the contemporary label brought modern tribal prints to the studio space. Inspired by travels across four continents, this globe-trotting design duo crafted urban-meets-African separates in colours of olive, navy and black. 
 All images courtesy of the Toronto Star.
For day two, we unanimously loved Chloe comme Parris and Pink Tartan. Most of us would purchase virtually everything from each collection. 

We especially loved the half sheer/half knit bias cut tunic from CCP and the triple strap backpacks were also killer. 

 
Some more looks we loved from Chloe comme Parris. Images courtesy of Fashion Magazine.

Pink Tartan was top knot central – this hairstyle popped up on nearly half of the models.


Loved the the neutral, military-inspired pieces, especially with the chic hats.

Kimberley Newport-Mimran gave a subtle nod to the ballet trend with softly coloured chiffon skirts with simple oxford-style tops. She also had an amazing music mix for her girls to stomp down the runway to. (You can download a copy here!). 

 All images courtesy of Medium Magazine.



As usual, Joe Fresh was fun, colourful and… fresh. 



A lot of bright pop orange was infused into the collection which will lighten up the dreary days of winter. 

The clean, versatile shift dresses are suitable for so many bodies. 

Joe Fresh proves again that they are the go-to source for basics with a bit of a twist. 

Can’t wait to see what the designers bring us tonight! What are your favourite looks for far? Tweet us @rockitpromo.

Fashion-able: Our favourite moments from LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris

It was a whirlwind week, full of inspiring looks for spring, hectic schedules, interesting presentations at the new Fashion Environment and the split-second hush before the music starts pounding on the catwalk. This was an amazing season at the ever-improving LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris.

As the agency of record for the FDCC, we had our hands in blogging, seating, registration, coordinating backstage interviews, calming nerves, bringing bagels and water, and working with some great creative minds. We were everywhere, every day, and had a great time. 

Many thanks go out to the talented designers, the amazing PR teams, both internally and externally, who helped out all week, the FDCC crew, who are incredibly hard-working, the media who help give a voice to our talented designers, and of course, the volunteers. Literally, this week could not have happened without volunteers.

Here are our favourite moments, from the rock-it promotions team:

Debra:
The entire week fuels me with inspiration and energy. I love seeing the massive amounts of people that support LGFW and the fact that the Fashion Design Council of Canada (located in Toronto) produces the second largest Event of its kind in North America. It’s still quite young (only 12 years old, compared to say TIFF, which is 35 years old) and I am really proud that we are part of something that is growing so quickly.

In terms of shows, it’s never easy to pick just one, but I really enjoyed Thomas. I thought they had a really interesting execution to their show in terms of production (music, lighting, etc) and an edgy, but wearable collection. I look forward to seeing more from them. I also really enjoyed Denis Gagnon. He’s brilliant. Period.



TOFW SS 2011: THOMAS from istoica on Vimeo.

Christina:
My favourite moment during any fashion week is the first five seconds before a show begins, when the lights go out and cell phones light up around the fashion environment. The anticipation and energy is fabulous!


During this fashion week, I also had the chance to view the Denis Gagnon show from the Tech booth. It was *amazing* to have a bird’s eye view of the models stomping it out. 


Alana:
My favourite moment was the Pink Tartan show. Not only were the clothes bright, beautiful and summery, but the show was a bit of a family affair, as two of my sisters were there as well. One was backstage helping to dress the models for Pink Tartan and the other was enjoying the show with some co-workers. Fun!

 
Photo courtesy of blogTO
Lisa:
The Dare To Wear Love show – the entire production was fantastic, and it was fun to see Dina Pugliese ham it up on the runway in her Ines di Santo gown and toss her bouquet into the crowd. It was really incredible to see the number of people who came out to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation. What a feel-good way to end the week!

Photo courtesy of Sun Media/QMI Agency
Pssst… if you missed the show, you can still bid on last year’s stunning dresses in support of the SLF.

Rachelle:
The ethereal, barely-blue wedding gowns at Romona Keveza’s show. It made me want to get married again.
Photo courtesy of She Does The City

Abby:
This was my first-ever fashion week, and I thought it was great. The most memorable moment for me was the first show – Holt Renfrew’s opening night. I was dazzled and excited to actually be seeing a show live, rather than on TV or a website. I loved the sneak peek of Pink Tartan, and have been dreaming about the Smythe jackets ever since last Monday night. I am also slightly jealous of the teased, curly hair. It rocks.
Photo courtesy of blogTO



Michelle:
So many good moments to choose from! I loved seeing all my favourite fashion media in one place. And of course, working with Hoax Couture on the Dare To Wear Love closing show was fantastic. This is my second year working on this fundraiser, and it’s so inspiring to work with a charity in the context of LGFW. A great way to close the week – the Stephen Lewis Foundation does important work. Plus, the designs were so fun. 

Photo courtesy of George Pimental

We can’t wait for the next shows (well, after we catch up on some sleep).