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The perennially poised Sonja Bata (here in the early 1970s on the terrace of Toronto’s Bata building) began a shoe collection 55 years before she opened her Bloor Street temple of footwear. Above and below the ankles, Bata’s style is classic, serene European minimalist.
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John Gerhardt, creative director at Holt Renfrew, is a man of contradictions. He’ll pair an impeccable tailored suit (with “the perfect amount of purple within the blue,” he notes) with a street-chic Comme des Garçons nylon bag.
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Catherine Nugent scaled social heights as a member of the Glitter Girl gang (along with Cathie Bratty, Nancy Paul and Anna Maria de Souza). Accordingly, her wardrobe is big on glitz: evening gowns for every night of the week. This particular one is ’80s Bob Mackie.
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British expat Sandy Stagg (wearing 1940s revival in 1978)set the agenda for street fashion in the early days of Queen West. She was a co-owner of Peter Pan restaurant and a model for the artist collective General Idea. A devotee of era mixing, from pre-Depression styles to punk, she was one of the first to make vintage cool.
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Posy Chisholm Feick
No bridge games or homemaking for Posy Chisholm Feick, a Forest Hill heretic who threw lavish parties, rode a camel in couture and was a patron of Valentino. She loved emeralds. She wore eye-popping matador red. And she made saris hip in Western society circles long before Elizabeth Hurley.
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Galen and Hilary Weston
Galen and Hilary Weston were betrothed to style from the start: here they are in country chic at their 1966 wedding near Henley-on-Thames. The ex–lieutenant governor and her husband made the global who’s who of fashion, the International Best-Dressed List, in 1987 and 1993 respectively.
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Alfred Sung’s dad pushed his reluctant son into the fashion design business in 1966. But by the early ’80s, Sung was as well known for his penchant for preppy accessories, crisp white shirts and collegiate blazers as he was for being a sportswear guru.
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On the late, great CBC show Fashion File, Tim Blanks advocated fashion that pushed boundaries. But the New Zealander–turned-Canadian (now a writer at style.com) has always stuck to subtlety in his personal style—just a quick punch of colour to thrill the eye.
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Suzanne Boyd, Zoomer magazine’s stiletto-clad editor-in-chief, is anything but bookish. Her style mandate is to clash in the most fabulous manner possible—mixing hip hop and high fashion. She’s our civic ambassador for a formal dress-up culture: “Night for day,” she quips, “that’s the story of my life.”
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Barbara Amiel wore a white flower-child frock on the first-ever cover of Toronto Life, in 1966 (the same year she wore white lace, above, to Ed’s Warehouse). Her dirty laundry was eventually aired in public, but at least it was Chanel. Through thick and thin, Amiel has never abandoned her polish.
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Chris Tyrell, co‑founder of the Queen West custom tailoring studio Hoax Couture, has a mercurial taste that shifts from shiraz-coloured velvet dinner jackets to relaxed guyaberas—a nod to his Caribbean roots.
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Belle of the ball Stacey Kimel ups the fashion ante at Toronto’s society events. She’s a runway watcher and statement dresser who can hush a room with a well-selected Giambattista Valli.
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Best-Dressed Hall of Fame