After living, on and off, in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood for years, Robin Kay, the president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, made her way eastward and upward not long ago, taking up residence in a two-bedroom condominium overtop the city's chic Thompson Hotel. There, she is surrounded by mementos of a life spent in fashion as a designer, manufacturer and retailer. Kay also oversees LG Fashion Week, the biannual fashion showcase that kicks off its 12th year this week. Before the marathon of shows ensues, Kay is making a concerted effort to spend some time at home in her loftstyle living room with her dogs, Lou-Lou and Grace Kelly. "This room sits in the southern west end of the apartment, so I can see the lake and the traffic and the CN Tower. It's my very own urban video."
THE CHAIRMAN MAO STATUES
"I have been collecting Mao images for many, many years. They're very hard to find."
THE WOODEN BOW
"This is one of many original prototypes from Garfield Smith, a Toronto artist living in Los Angeles who was chosen to create a 140-foot-long sculpture in aluminum steel as part of an installation for the Canadian consulate in Japan. It is perfectly balanced, just like this prototype."
"These original oil paintings are by Stephen Lack, a Canadian living in New York; I have many much larger works by him. When I designed knitwear, we enjoyed many discussions about hue and shade and specific blends to create colours. I selected the yarn colours for many seasons as a knitwear designer as a result of conversations with Stephen."
"These gold Victorian trinket boxes are my major collecting passion. Each one is either shredded velvet or tattered silk and holds treasures belonging to my children's lives as well as a few assorted private memories of my own."
"This is the porcelain head of a girl, a piece from the 1940s. I bought it in L.A."
THE COFFEE TABLE
"The tabletop is a solid single piece of agate. The baroque legs contrast magnificently with all my very plain white furniture."
THE WHITE CHAIRS
"They were designed by Philippe Starck. My theme is white, white, white. But when I want a change, I can just pull off the slip covers to get a forest-green velvet look for winter."