Mad Hot Ballet in support of The National Ballet of Canada, Toronto
Since its inception in 2007, Mad Hot Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada’s most important annual fundraiser, has served as a highlight on Toronto’s spring social calendar. Desert Dream was this year’s theme and the June 12 soirée was complete with bedouin-style silk tents, tufted poufs and a caftan or two. Dinner, as always, was served on stage and was preceded by a pair of cocktail receptions which flanked 2019’s exceptional gala performance. On stage this year during the hour-long showcase was a world premiere preview of a new work by National Ballet choreographic associate Robert Binet titled Dialogue Dances, and later, Heather Ogden and Harrison James performed a pas de deux from George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky. Jeannine Haller and the wonderful Siphesihle November came together to perform a pas de deux from La Sylphide, and closing the evening was a pas de deux from The Merry Widow, performed by principal dancers Guillaume Côté and Xiao Nan Yu, the latter who will, at the end of the season, retire after 22 years with the company. Post-dinner, big-givers, ballet board and company members convened on the still-warm stage for some rug-cutting of their own. All told, by night’s end this latest, co-chaired by Rana Florida and Rochelle de Goias raised an impressive $1.2-million, which will support the beloved company’s artists, performances and community programs.
The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, Toronto
A couple of weeks earlier, on May 30, the 6th annual Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) was the place to see and be seen. CAFA, which works to promote and celebrate Canadian style creators, hosted their annual party to honour the best from the field of fashion. Inside the Fairmont Royal York the ballroom brimmed with a sea of tables populated with fashion players and enthusiasts all decked out in their Canadian finery and eager to laud this year’s big winners. Poet Rupi Kaur was on-stage to bestow a trophy to her friend, International Designer of the Year winner Aurora James, whose collection Brother Vellies aims to sustain the craft of shoemaking in Africa. The Swarovski Award for emerging talent in fashion went to Montreal designer Marie-Ève Lecavalier, who, maybe teeming with nerves or excitement, dropped her statue, breaking it in half. Fellow Montrealers Hannah Rose Dalton and Steven Raj Bhaskaran, who together form Fecal Matter, received the Digital Fashion Influencer Award; the pair use makeup and prosthetics to produce inventive, albeit slightly unsettling looks, which their devoted online following adore. Fashion plate Sylvia Mantella and model Coco Rocha gave the final award of the night to womenswear designer of the year Sid Neigum, who earlier in the evening netted the $20,000 Suzanne Rogers grant for International Development.
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