Monday is hump day on the TIFF party circuit. The frenzy of the first few nights has settled into an easy buzz. You don’t feel the need to pound back your free champers so you can make all 10 parties on your itinerary. And your neck doesn’t jerk quite so quickly every time a star crosses into your line of vision.
Last night was loaded with bashes but what it delivered in volume, it lacked in celebs. We still had Jude Law, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh celebrating Sleuth with a dinner at Brant House. But over at 299 Queen West where Fashion Television was hosting and filming a Valentino runway show in honour of the Italian designer’s 45 anniversary and recently announced retirement, it was mostly local fashion folks filling the seats.
And oh the drama over those seats. Toronto has a pretty standard catwalk-side pecking order that new FT owner CTV obviously has never seen. While the front rows remained empty, seasoned style journos David Livingstone and Derick Chetty were escorted to fourth row seats. FLARE editor Lisa Tant, ravishing in a Valentino-appropriate lipstick red gown, did a bit better in the third row. The contingent from Holt Renfrew, the line’s major Canadian retailer, was told to grab any seat in the back.
In the end, those front row seats were being saved for a pack of coiffed news anchors, Tie Domi, TIFF mainstay Wyclef and ten of his most dressed-down friends. Also in the end, Valentino was a no show but appeared via a tape recorded bow.
Up, up, up above downtown, ET Canada hosted the first night of its Studio Lounge set up at Casa Loma for Charlize Theron and Tommy Lee Jones’ In the Valley of Elah. Outside, host Rick Campanelli threw to commercial in front of the devilishly lit palace. Inside, another studio space filled the great room and a vast outdoor VIP patio wanted for bold face. Writer/director Paul Haggis was happy to mingle on the packed not-so-VIP terrace.
At the Distillery District, stars on deck for the Trumbo party put on by Time Style & Design magazine included Donald Sutherland and Jessica Alba. Leelee Sobieski warmed up for her own Distillery after party this evening at the 1930s themed fete scored with a live, 20 piece big band.
Star sightings: The IT Lounge at the Windsor Arms keeps raking them in. Ryan Gosling brought his mom and sis by on Monday to sort through the swag. Uma Thurman and Rachel Leigh Cook stopped by the Wardrobe Lounge on the weekend and Leigh Cook picked out a dress by Canadian label Nada. Evan Rachel Wood minus Marilyn being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight and browsing the baubles at the Daniel Espinosa Jewellery shop under the Four Seasons.
P.S. A CTV spokesperson called today to clarify that the big broadcaster was hands-off in prepping the guest list and seating plan for Fashion Television’s Valentino show. It was, in fact, the FT and Valentino people who picked seat assignments and what’s the world coming to if they can’t get the ego order right!?!