#TIFF12: Getting swaggy at Tastemakers Lounge

Tastemaker: Someone who popularizes a new fashion or trend; a
role model or someone worthy of imitation.

Us rock-it-eers know great products and brands when we see
them, so we’re pumped to share the details of this year’s Tastemakers Lounge,
hosted during the Toronto International Film Festival. For the eighth year,
local and international guests visited our revamped suite at the
InterContinental Hotel to indulge in the exceptional products Tastemakers
Lounge is known for showcasing. We’re proud to be Canadian and try to rock
Canadian labels as often as we can, and Tastemakers Lounge is no exception.

Eli Roth and Lorenza Izzo came by Tastemakers to check out
our goodies.
Films are what TIFF is all about, but there’s always an eye
on Festival fashion. Yorkdale Shopping
 guaranteed Tastemakers guests left the lounge with special
gifts, from a Tiffany & Co. limited edition bracelet to Microsoft’s new
Arc Touch mouse. 

Director Brandon Cronenberg, Antiviral, checks out
Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

We want guests to look as good on the outside as they do
underneath, and La Senza made
sure this was the case. They showcased their new line of lingerie called Beyond
Sexy, gifting a bra and panty set and gift cards for future shopping. Catch the
line in stores September 17.

TIFF Rising Stars Charlotte Sullivan (left) and Tatiana
Maslany (right) are excited about their Beyond Sexy lingerie from La Senza.

Actors are always in front of the camera, and after TIFF,
they’ll need Indeed Laboratories’ products to keep them looking fresh and
paparazzi-ready. Talent were treated to fan favourite products eysilix and
peptalash, for flawless looks when the cameras flash.  

Tamara Podemski,The Lesser Blessed, loved
her eysilix gift from Canada’s own Indeed Labs.

Demeter Fragrance Lab’s fragrance bar kept guests smelling
nice and fresh, especially with scents like rain, dragon fruit, and a TIFF
favourite, popcorn.

Waving to cameras and signing autographs for fans means
hands need to look their best. Kiss provided an in-lounge mani with imPRESS
Press-On Manicure and Nail Dress, a spiced up version of do-it-yourself nails
on the go. We didn’t forget about the toes; Emjoi’s MicroPedi, a portable
hand-held pedicure, was a welcome take-home item.

Hilary Farr of Love It or List It gets a KISS
nails manicure.

Bobble provided durable, trendy and eco-conscious water
bobbles while Tea Emporium made sure our lounge guests had a calming moment to
themselves by selecting their own personal blend of tea. Other products
gifted include Viviscal Maximum Strengh for naturally beautiful hair and
Kimberley’s Own granola, 100 per cent vegan and gluten-free granola.

Emily Hampshire, star of My Awkward Sexual
, with the bobble selection at the lounge.

Toronto is a foodie-centric city, so we went beyond gifting
the best in Canadian fashion and accessories; we included tasty treats as well!
Stars snacked on cupcakes by Le Dolci, popchips in flavours like Sweet Potato
and Thai Chili Lime and Kimberley’s Own granola.

Rob Zombie and wife Sheri Moon Zombie enjoyed Kimberley’s
Own granola while at Tastemakers.

Of course we didn’t forget about our gentlemen guests. The
staff of John Allan’s,  a men’s grooming service and club, were ready to
provide shoe shines, hair clean-ups and mini manicures. Guys need cuticle trims, too.

Jarvis Church of the Philosopher Kings makes the most of a
John Allan’s shoe shine. 

With all the swag we gifted, it’s a good thing we had totes
from Me & You and Sully Wong’s duffle so guests could carry everything
they got.

Musician Adam Cohen loves his Sully Wong duffle. 

who stopped by include: Adrian Grenier, Brandon Cronenberg, Eli
Roth, Rob Zombie and Sheri Moon Zombie, Adam Cohen, Sarah Gadon,
Connor Jessup, Tatiana Maslany, Charlotte Sullivan, Emily Hampshire, Jonas
Chernick, Gabrielle Miller, Vic Sahay, Deco Dawson, Amy Berg, Laura Mennell,
Tonya Lee Williams, Gage Munroe, Michael Friend, Sam Yu, Steven McCarthy,
Spencer Van Wyck, Georgina Reilly, Matthew Cooke, Sheila McCarthy, Yannick
Bisson, Jarvis Church, Tamara Podemski, Rachel Wilson, Douglas Smith, Charlie
Carrick, Christa Campbell, Reece Thompson, Hilary Farr, the cast of 
Rosey Edeh (Global News), Tara Spencer-Nairn, Liz Trinnear (MuchMusic VJ),
Maika Monroe, Siddarth, Zaib Shaikh, Annika Marks, Kristen Gutoskie, Agam
Darshi, Lorenza Izzo, Abdallah El Akal. Whew!

Adrian Grenier kept calm and got his swag on while in town
promoting his movie 
How to Make Money Selling Drugs.

We’re having such a blast at TIFF 2012 this year and couldn’t be
more proud of Tastemakers Lounge – we outdo ourselves every year. Thank you to
our exceptional sponsors and those who make Tastemakers possible, we couldn’t
do it without you and the amazing products you provide each year.

Visit our Facebook
 and Flickr
 for more pics from the lounge.

Check out some of our past
Tastemakers posts
 and discover our amazing history.


City Living: Best moments from TIFF 2011

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is undoubtedly one of the most exciting, hectic and energized times of year for the fourth floor. The film fest creates the type of atmosphere that we thrive on and despite the fact that we are pulling 18-hour days, we really do love it. We may say we’re stressed out and tired but the truth is, we’re catching a buzz from the entire experience and relishing every moment. Once the red carpets are rolled up and the celebs are on to their next destination, we are left with new experiences and great memories.
We have put together our most unforgettable moments from TIFF 2011. We want to hear your stories as well, so please tweet, comment and share with us.
Watching K’naan perform to a small crowd of about 350 people at Festival Music House, front and center, and hearing his yet-unreleased tracks performed live for the first time.
Image courtesy of JJ Thompson.
Bringing Sarah Silverman from the wrong red carpet at the Alliance party to the right red carpet. She was very cool and laid back, and took it all in stride. We got to chat with her for 10 minutes, and laughing with a comedian is the best experience.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images.

Chatting with The Sheepdogs during soundcheck, then hearing them for the first time at Festival Music House. They are now a huge fourth floor favourite, and we can’t wait to see them when they come back in November. Filmmakers – USE CANADIAN MUSIC!
 Image courtesy of Ryan Emberley.

Seeing Drizzy ride up to the Breakaway premiere in a rickshaw. Way to keep it real, Drake. 

Catching a glimpse of the very chic Tilda Swinton on our way back from the Tastemakers Lounge. Girl crush solidified.

Meeting Backstreet Boy Howie D. at the Hello! Canada party. A childhood dream long in the making. He’s just as cute in real life. 
 Our friend Tracy with Howie D.

Hitting the Strombo party late-night and turning around on the patio to find Bono and K’naan standing immediately behind us. The party was immediately amped up a notch (or five).

Everyone getting ready at the office each afternoon for the night ahead was probably the most fun. Checking out everyone’s outfits, helping with styling advice, zippers and hair – definitely some serious bonding moments, which helped us get through the long hours.  

Our office was basically everyone’s closet for two weeks.

Finally, from Debra, who quite possibly worked the most hours out of us all (and saw the most action!): 

So many favourite moments this year. Between Tastemakers, the Alliance red carpet, Harry Rosen Moth Diaries party, Festival Music House, the four films I worked on – it’s hard to pick just one! I did love being at the Soho House for the Ides of March cocktail party. It was intimate, not too busy and filled with power execs and talent like George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and more. Was one of those ‘it’s definitely TIFF’ moments. Also loved dancing my butt off to Sam Roberts at FMH. Until next year…

The scoop on Tastemakers Lounge at TIFF 2011

The ladies on the fourth floor have a knack for spotting (and starting) hot new trends. That’s why we’re excited to give you the scoop on the gifts and goodies that wowed at our seventh annual Tastemakers Lounge, hosted during the Toronto International Film Festival.

This year, we transformed our InterContinental Hotel suite into a paradise of products for local and international talent in Toronto for the festival.  Guests were quick to snap up chic, one-of-a-kind accessories, many of which are Canadian. Stars personalized Pandora bracelets with gem-studded, 14-karat gold or sterling silver charms and rocked fashionable eye-wear from brands FYSH UK, KLIIK denmark or EVATIK from Western Optical. Crowncap gifted everyone with warm and cozy Nathanial Cole hats. And at the end of a long day working the red carpet, there’s nothing better than a pair of superior, stylish denim when the formal wear comes off. Stars scooped up jeans from Mavi’s newest line, Mavi Gold.
Geoffrey Rush, The Eye of the Storm, trying on a new pair of frames.
With snap-happy paparazzi trolling through Toronto and swarming red carpets, skin and hair care is of the utmost importance. Indeed Labs treated guests to its newest face serum Okrapeptide (a great, natural Botox alternative). Professional in-house stylists from Conair preened and pampered guests with John Frieda styling tools. 
Arlene Dickinson, Dragon’s Den, checking out her new ‘do courtesy of Conair.
As much as we adore great new products and gorgeous apparel, we also know that great finds go well beyond fashion, beauty and jewellery. 

To satisfy the gamer in each of our guests, Mattel Game On! showcased four new games including Angry Birds: Knock on Wood, the board game version of the smartphone favourite. For the music-lovers, ClarityOne equipped talent with 3-D ClarityOneEarbuds featuring a built-in PureSound processor for crisp, clear sound. 

Butter‘s Yara Shahidi picks up Uno Roboto.

There’s nothing we love more than celebrities who interact and engage with fans. For stars ready to sign autographs, Sharpie gifted guests with the ultimate tool for making signatures stylish. After a full day of doing interviews, a working actor needs a good night’s sleep. Canadian line Cilque[s•ilk]  sent guests like Scott Speedman home with 100 per cent silk bedding, pillowcases, an eye mask or a gift certificate.

In between parties and screenings, busy stars need to nosh!  PC showcased its newest line of products, President’s Choice® black label, to the VIP crowd. Visitors who were in the mood for something crunchy and tasty hit up the popchips mini lounge. To quench their thirst, guests grabbed a Smartwater and filled up their brand new Bobble, a resilient, reusable water bottle.
Dustin Milligan, Sisters and Brothers, kicks back with a bag of popchips.

Tastemakers guests also left with gift certificates to Rue Pigalle, Dealuxe and Eleven.

Our guests took their swag home in the adorable Fall 2011 Everygirl Tote snakeskin printed bag from Old Navy and cheeky reusable bags made from recycled t-shirts from Me + You.
Other guests that stopped by included Mary Harron, Sarah Gadon and Sarah Bolger (The Moth Diaries), Don McKellar (I’m Yours), Lasse Hallström (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), Kim Wayans, Adepero Oduye and Pernell Walker (Pariah), Jessica Parker Kennedy (50/50), Sam Childers (Machine Gun Preacher), Mike Clatterburg (Afghan Luke), Jennifer Podemski (Take This Waltz), Vinay Birmani (Breakaway), Katie Boland (TIFF Rising Star), Tattiawna Jones (Keyhole), Georgina Reilly (Highland Gardens) and many, many more!
Tastemakers Lounge may be lavish, but it’s not just about swag. Tastemakers is making a donation to CNIB, a charity that provides research, innovative consumer products and advocacy support for blind and partially sighted individuals. CNIB also takes on the huge task of delivering 2.2 million materials in alternative formats like braille and audio to people with disabilities across Canada.
Russell Peters, Breakaway, hopes Okrapeptide will fix his many laugh lines.
We are so proud of Tastemakers Lounge and the wonderful sponsors who provide truly fantastic and innovative products year after year. See you at TIFF 2012!
Visit our Facebook page for more pics from the lounge.
Check out some of our past Tastemakers posts and discover our amazing history. 

TIFF ’10: A visit from…Leesa Butler

It’s on! The Toronto International Film Festival officially starts tomorrow. Every year, TIFF brings celebrities, great films, parties and swag, and with it, the annual Tastemakers Lounge. In its sixth year, the most-hyped swag lounge of the festival wouldn’t be possible without co-founder Leesa Butler. She’s made many trips up to the fourth floor as of late, to plan and execute the details of this year’s (fantastic) Tastemakers Lounge. We were able to catch some stories from the past six years – here they are.

Debra Goldblatt and I met when she was doing publicity for Canadian Idol (my husband Jake was a judge), getting the judges seen out on red carpets and events. Jake didn’t like to go without me, and Debra and I quickly hit it off. I was new to Toronto, and overwhelmed at the lack of vision behind event gifting in Canada, given the popularity of gift lounges everywhere else celebrities gathered. Quite simply, Debra and I had lunch one day to get to know each other better and ended up brainstorming Tastemakers.

Film festival was barely a couple of months away, but we made it work, and launched the first-ever swag lounge at TIFF in 2005. Since then, we have hosted Tastemakers Lounges at every major celebrity event in Canada. Our biggest event is during TIFF.

One of our crowning moments was HGTV filming the Green Lounge episode we did, when The Designer Guys designed our lounge in entirely eco-friendly materials. During TIFF, I spend 10 days making celebs and VIPs smile with all kinds of great products and services that we bring together in the Tastemakers Lounge. As the VP of Operations, I work on logistics and sponsor relations, and Debra and her rock-it promotions team work the media. We both secure sponsorships and develop the vision.

There have been some truly hilarious moments, like when Shirley MacLaine, who would allow us to photograph her but refused to pose, was so curious about what was in the lounge that she nearly tore it apart. She was poking through boxes in the storage room like a child, “What’s in here?”, and nearly walked off with a sponsor’s purse, saying “This is nice, you’re giving THIS away?”.

The year Slumdog Millionaire got its rave reviews in Toronto (putting it back on the map for global domination), the director Danny Boyle and top cast members were in the lounge. And the very moment Danny is checking out a tie, one of the key songs from his movie (with Ewan McGregor) Trainspotting came over the stereo. Danny turns to us, cocks his head to listen and says, “Cool, guys”.

Sometimes, they get a little silly, like Jeremy Renner posing with a patent leather and plaid Joe Fresh Style purse. You just never know what’s going to happen.

I love it when they come back after having been to Tastemakers years before, and remember how much they loved something they got from us. Those stories are priceless. That’s why we do this.

Butler’s knack for marketing appeared almost as early as her love of fashion. After growing up in the United States and working in advertising, public relations and online marketing agencies, Butler relocated to Canada.

Here, she created Divine Lab, Inc. with a focus on marketing consulting and event planning for companies like Kontent Publishing, the Fashion Design Council of Canada and Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity. Butler teamed up with a publicist friend in 2005 to launch Tastemakers Lounge, the first-ever Canadian gift lounge. These swag lounges promote brands and products to media and celebrities at high-profile Canadian events, like the Toronto International Film Festival, JUNO Awards, Gemini Awards and Genie Awards. In 2006, she created The F-list, a web community for fashion lovers in Canada. The F-list was born out of a desire to embrace Canadian fashion designers the best way she knows how – by promoting them. 

With designer profiles, sale and event listings, plus a monthly newsletter (The F Word) with news stories from the front lines of fashion, The F-list champions the Canadian fashion scene. With the advent of social media, her consulting focus has turned to teaching corporations and independent businesses how to engage customers and build their brand using Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools. Butler sits on the board of Fashion Group International, a global fashion industry organization based in her former home, New York City. Butler’s fashion advice and knowledge is regularly published in various magazines and websites, and she often emcees fashion or marketing events. In her spare time, she reorganizes her massive shoe collection.

Twitter: @theFlist

Meet Our Team: Michelle

Michelle Easton, a stellar publicist, loves fashion, music and Queen West-West. She adds spunk and sass to the fourth floor. She may or may not have a tattoo in an interesting place….

Michelle’s current client roster includes Shopgirls Gallery Boutique, Emily Hampshire, Passport to Prana, You Name It Baby! and Tastemakers Lounge, among others.

How long have you been part of the team?
One glorious year!

Ideal vacation spot?

A deserted beach in Costa Rica.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Wine. Oh, and of course, the amazing show True Blood (I’m addicted.)

Favourite movie of all time?

Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luherman)

How do you like to relax?

I like to sit in a park reading a fashion magazine while listening to music on a sunny day. It’s so calming and lovely.

Best part about being a publicist?

I love that I get to meet and chat with so many interesting and wonderful people.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website Beautiful Things to Share
Designer – Stella McCartney.
Store – Chatelet
Book If You Have To Cry Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone.
Snack – Heavenly hash ice cream.
Season – Summer: I love sunshine and wearing sun dresses.
Sexy – Confidence.
Inspiration – My mother.
Drink – Vitamin Water.
Motto in two words – Love always.