Food and fashion are becoming allies as 11 Canadian designers — whose collections will be showcased at Toronto Fashion Week (TFW) Sept. 4 to 6 — have partnered up with top Yorkville restaurants and bars, to create unique food and cocktails inspired by designer collections.
Hani Roustom, general manager of Hazelton Hotel, came up with the concept he hopes will promote community engagement in TFW, now in its third season.
“Part of the vision of the reimagined Toronto Fashion Week and inviting it to Yorkville has always been elevating the profile of our neighbourhood. Working with the community was something we have done from day one and Style Plate is just another key strategic effort in this direction,” says Roustom.
With this in mind, Roustom reached out to all the restaurants and bars in the neighbourhood and they came up with the idea of ‘Style Plate’ matching designers with establishments.
“It is a very creative way of bringing all the elements together, exposure for restaurants, exposure for designers, do something different and have fun doing it. We continued developing Style Plate around this idea,” says Roustom.
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The collaboration also included a playful photo shoot. The idea was to do something that felt editorial and high fashion and would show off the food and fashion in a harmonious way. They wanted the images to reflect the neighbourhood, restaurants and designers.
Participating restaurants include Bar Reyna, ONE Restaurant, Sofia, STK, Kasa Moto, Cibo Wine Bar, Sassafraz, Trattoria Nervosa, Amber, The Oxley and Planta.
Nicki Laborie, owner of Bar Reyna collaborated with designer Christopher Paunil, which she says is a perfect fit. “We created a dessert and a cocktail in the same colour palate of white and pink, to align with Christopher Paunil’s Uber feminine style. Chef Ariel Coplan created a dessert shaping a meringue to highlight the shape of a woman’s body. The ‘Pink Pavlova’ is a meringue with pistachio semi-freddo, raspberry coulis and fresh mint,” says Laborie.
“Eleni Brock, our mixologist, created the “Informal Therapist” cocktail inspired by a term which Christopher Paunil described as the inspiration for his upcoming collection. The cocktail includes lychee, raspberry, gin and agua fava, a chick pea water, making the cocktail completely vegan, just like the designer,” says Laborie.
Christopher Paunil and business partner Chalo Hancock, were more than wowed by the finished product.
“Nicki and her team created such a great cocktail with a name that excites us as that’s our business, often being informal therapists for our clients for high pressure events, milestones in life and especially weddings. Chalo and I work very hard to create an environment that’s warm and comfortable so our brides often open up and we try and help them always feel inspired and empowered. Kinda like therapy!” says Paunil.
More than just encouraging people who love fashion to explore the area’s restaurants, the restaurants are also inviting patrons to explore fashion week. Restaurants involved in this initiative are providing guests with a promo code for tickets to TFW to encourage them to go see a show (or two!) and explore.
“Bloor-Yorkville is the fashion and lifestyle destination in Toronto and Canada. We have a vibrant restaurant scene and Style Plate brings all this together in the most beautiful, fun way,” says Roustom.