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Public School at Holt Renfrew, Toronto

Education and mentorship linked two recent events in Toronto. The first was a very cool party held at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street flagship on Feb. 26 for luxe New York streetwear label Public School. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the brand’s creators, are Council of Fashion Designers of America success stories, snagging its Swarovski award for men’s wear in 2010 and the Fashion Fund prize in 2013, an accolade highly coveted by young American designers keen on making their mark on the industry. The $300,000 cash prize, international promotion and priceless mentorships have helped launch the careers of designers Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang and last year’s winner, Paul Andrew. To launch the label’s spring 2015 wares for men and the duo’s debut women’s spring collection, a portion of the lower level of Holts received the too-cool-for-school treatment. Like the clothes, the space was stripped down to the basics: polished concrete floors and white-washed walls that became a canvas for video projections and algebraic equations solved live by math students. This, coupled with the best accessory of all – an interesting-looking crowd dressed in the label’s palette of black, white and even blacker black – made for a late-night party worth staying up for. Among the people perusing the wares and sipping cocktails (served, of course, in black Solo cups): jewellery designer Jane Apor, stylists Hazel Ong and Corey Ng, Erie Meat Ltd. president Simon Rosen and his wife Kelly, models Sam Chang-Gardner, Zanana Aloena Pinas and Winnie Harlow, fashion designer Holden Vetro, DJ Diego Armand, financiers Amy Patel and Kona Shio, as well as photographers Ishmil Waterman and David Pike. In keeping with their mentorship roots, the designers took time before the party to speak with a small group of local fashion students and aspiring designers in Holts personal shopping suites. “Mentorship is such a big part of who we are,” designer Chow said to me as he made his way through the room, adding that “it’s nice to give some of that back.”

Dao-Yi Chow, left, and Maxwell Osborne of Public School. (Photos by Jenna Marie Wakani)

Stylist Marc Andrew Smith, designer Holden Vetro and DJ Diego Armand.

Model Zanana Aloena Pinas and photographer Ishmil Waterman.

National Ballet School Gala: An Affair to Remember at the Carlu, Toronto

The National Ballet School’s 2015 gala on March 6 took its inspiration from An Affair to Remember, a now classic film released in 1957, just two years before the NBS was established. Females channelled their inner Deborah Kerr by embracing crinoline skirts, polished, up-swept hair and glistening costume jewels, while the Cary Grant types inside The Carlu exuded masculine mid-century glamour. The evening may have had a throwback theme, but the school’s work is most definitely focused on the future. The annual event, presented this year by RBC Royal Bank, raises funds that assist the NBS, a world leader in dance education and the only ballet school in North America that provides its international students from grades 6 to 12 with expert dance training, academic teaching and housing. NBS is also using the art of movement to better the health and wellness of others through community outreach initiatives for all ages, including Dancing with Parkinson’s, the Sharing Dance program and Movement to Music for seniors living with dementia. Following dinner, the highly anticipated student performance presented by Ivan Fecan and Sandra Faire commenced, after NBS artistic director and CEO Mavis Staines thanked gala goers for helping to “prepare students to perform their craft at the highest level.” And what a performance it was. The highlight for many, myself included, was a moving piece choreographed by a 14-year-old student of the school who, moments before, performed The Dance of the Little Swans from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Post performance, dinner guests – including Hon. Petra Newton, Hon. Margaret McCain, NBS gala chair and RBC wealth management VP/head of brand and marketing Rebecca Mooney, RBC capital markets CFO Troy Maxwell (also the evening’s honorary chair), the Canadian Opera Company’s director of production Peter Lamb, NBS alumna Veronica Tennant and First Nations Bank’s corporate director Urban Joseph – joined the young patrons’ circle in a 1950s-themed casino and lounge where they wagered for the cause well into the night.

From left, Bruce Zinger, Laurie Westman, Veronica Tennant and Peter Lamb. (Photos by Ryan Emberley)

Gala chair Rebecca Mooney, left, with NBS director of development Monika Joslin.

Globe Style Advisor magazine launch at Drake One Fifty, Toronto

A celebratory dinner was held on March 9 to launch the latest Globe Style Advisor Magazine at Drake One Fifty, the lively outpost eatery of the famed indie Toronto hotel. The gentlemen were outnumbered at this one, as a bevy of fascinating women took centre stage, all of them out to celebrate the latest travel issue, which focused on exploration, authentic style and thoughtful living. There were the PR mavens, including Siren Communications president Candice Best, Jane Gill public relations’s Jane Gill, as well as Hugo Boss’s director of marketing and public relations, Dawn Bellini. There were the business innovators, including Roohi Qureshi, the founder of Leaves of Trees, a Canadian beauty brand that focuses on natural ingredients, Alexandra Weston, the director of brand strategy for Holt Renfrew, whose H Project initiative brings sustainably sourced products from around the globe to Canadian shoppers, and Lanita Layton, managing director of Hugo Boss Canada. Also in attendance were cover girl Alyshia Miller, wearing a Michael Kors look styled by Globe Style’s Odessa Paloma Parker, blogger Deanne Castro and actress (and former Advisor cover girl) Cara Gee. Among the dapper gents celebrating the new issue were blogger Garrett Tonge, Harry Rosen PR pro Tim Gallant and Andrew Sardone, editor of the magazine. The latest issue of Globe Style Advisor can be found by downloading the Globe Style Advisor app in the iTunes store or at

Cover model Alyshia Miller in Michael Kors. (Photos by Jenna Marie Wakani)

From left, actress Cara Gee, photographer Carlyle Routh and Leaves of Trees founder Roohi Qureshi

Jane Gill of Jane Gill PR with Andrew Sardone, editor of Globe Style Advisor.

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