On the Town with Shinan: A light-filled feast for Thom Browne

By Shinan Govani

“I'm a terrible public speaker,” began designer Thom Browne at a dinner held for him this week in Toronto. He did just fine, I thought, addressing the throng of darlings that had turned out for him at one long table set up in the lobby of an office tower, set against a striking installation by the world's most famous light artist (that's Arizona's James Turrell).

Earlier, umbrella-clad invitees whisked into the Bay/Adelaide Centre, having just made the quick but rainy trek from a bigger party for Thom held down the way at The Room – and the dandy designer bashfully made the scene. Talking to Jorn Weisbrodt, Mr. Luminato, and others like our Cameron Williamson, editor-in-chief of Flare, he was overheard telling one admirer about his early, early foray into acting. “I was terrible,” he said, admitting he only lasted for a few months.

Definitely not terrible: Thom's eventual destiny with fashion. Having spurred a turn-of-the-millennium revolution in men's fashion – he pretty much portended the Mad Men wave – he has, more recently, also racked up quite the coup on the women's side. You know when you're being worn by Michelle Obama (at her husband's inauguration, no less) and by Lady Gaga that you've reached peak zeitgeist, alright.

The dinner, hosted by Bay president Liz Rodbell, brought out faves like socialite Stacey Jordan, Suits actress Meghan Markle, Twitter's Kirstine Stewart and model Yasmine Warsame, but was probably most notable for being in a part of the office lobby that looks out across a huge pane of glass. “It's like we're our own shop window,” someone pipped, as orders (lamb or bass or veggie) were being taken. In fact, several times during the roll of courses, curious pedestrians pressed their noses up against the glass to see what the heck was going on. Giving the scene some added oomph, for sure: the changing light installation by James Turrell, who had a huge show at the Guggenheim in New York last year. His animated sculpture, known as 'Straight Flush', was installed in 2009 on the south side of the Toronto tower.

Not your daddy's Bay Street, let's just say.


If even that guy from The Matrix is using his tablet to take photos at fashion shows, then it's ok, right? Right? Laurence Fishburne did just that when he front-row'ed the other week at a stunning luxury jewellery debut, held at David Pecault Square. His wife – the gorgeous Gina Torress, who stars in the Toronto-shot series Suits – was the big oh-look on the runaway, and it's she who got Laurence raising the old iPad in front of his face, as their daughter, Deliah, sat beside him cheering on mom.

Gina wasn't just walking the catwalk for the Canadian brand, Huntress – she was walking down the catwalk like a one-woman hurricane, accompanied by two striking Irish wolfhounds. "They wanted a goddess, they got a goddess," Gina told me, afterwards, backstage. She also told me that the dogs were naturals - and they didn't need much rehearsing at all.

Scene! Heard!

    * Put the petals to the metal: Drew Barrymore, who has a new range of cosmetics, Flower Beauty, will host a cocktail party to help celebrate the launch at Colette in Toronto next week.

    * Spotted sharing a cookie while promenading on Dovercourt Road in Toronto the other day: Robert Pattinson and his gal-pal, FKA Twigs.

    * Hot buns! The Brothers WahlbergMark, Donnie, and Paul - will land in Toronto on November 15th to officially open the all-new Wahlburgers restaurant at the Soho Metropolitan Hotel.

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