The Style Box toronto

The Secret Behind Red-Carpet Clothes is The Style Box

Ever wondered how celebrities can afford to swathe themselves in such fabulous clothes, event after event? Often times it's a case of the wearer simply borrowing the piece for the night, a la Cinderella.

Toronto's tastemakers recently got its own fairy godmothers in the form of actress Amanda Brugel and agent Gail McInnes, who started up showroom The Style Box at the Toronto Fashion Incubator for the purpose of "promoting Canadian style culture" and hooking up celebrities with the perfect loaner for their big night. Clients have included actress Kristin Booth and singer Ivana Santilli.

The Style Box torontoThe Style Box toronto

I got to sit in on a consultation recently--enter actress Inga Cadranel, one of the stars up the upcoming CBS series, The Bridge. She needed a few stand-out pieces to wear to the slew of TIFF parties coming up that would work well with her thin build and sleek, dark style.

"I need something for the schmooze. Nothing premiere," said Cadranel, who was on the look-out for something that emphasized her top half, since she wasn't a fan of her legs (even though they're lovely!). "This is my forté!" laughed Cadranel, pointing to her décolletage.

The Style Box torontoThe Style Box torontoThe Style Box toronto

How it works is designers pay a fee to have their designs featured in The Style Box (which includes an event photographer to capture any celeb that chooses their designs), and celebrities get to come pick what they like, with Brugel and McInnes lending assist by pulling pieces that mesh with their style. Celebrities can keep the clothing, if the wish, by purchasing it at retail price. All they pay for is the cleaning bill.

"We want people to take real fashion risks on the Canadian red carpet for the first time," said Brugel. "I feel as though everyone seems to feel so apologetic for what they wear and are afraid to take risks. We want to encourage people en masse to wear Canadian designers and be sexy and elegant and make massive, big, bold choices."

The Style Box torontoThe Style Box toronto

For Cadranel, a Fashion Crimes feathered gown wasn't sexy enough, while a gold lamé romper from Brazen Hussy was well-liked, although the jury was out on what bra would work with the piece. A crinkled sage-green with a deep plunge-neck by Magpie was another possibility until Cadranel donned Decadent Designs' high-necked, pouf-skirted black silk mini-dress, which became the clear front-runner.

That is, until she slithered into the black lace floor-length number by Nadya Toto, followed by Jason Meyers' ruffled jumpsuit that drew appreciative "ooooh"s. Because when you go Canadian, there's more to ooh and ahh over than ever before.

The Style Box toronto

Photos by Fara Winestock.


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