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The Scene: Fashion Cares 25 launches without Elton John and Jeanne Beker

Last night at Charles Khabouth’La Société, Fashion Cares event co-chair Michael King and artistic director Philip Ing gathered Toronto’s high society, fashion media and PR professionals to launch the event’s 25th anniversary. Ing announced to the crowd that this year’s mega-AIDS fundraiser will be downsizing to an intimate 3,400 seats (previous engagements hosted over 8,000 people), and also revealed that Sir Elton John will be bringing an assortment of his performance costumes to display during the event. A mass of people like Zoomer’s Suzanne Boyd, Flare’s Lisa Tant, Men’s Fashion’s David Livingston, hairstylist Robert Gage, eTalk’s Tanya Kim, NKPR’s Natasha Koifman and more sweated it out whilst packed inside the salon-style bar, leading society columnist Shinan Govani to remark, in an “ah ha!” way, that “fashion people do care.” The setting’s old-school charms made it seem like an old Hollywood affair—flashes went off (in place of flash bulbs and smoke), capturing the likes of philanthropist David Nugent nestled in the corner of a leather bankette, taking in the sights while his wife Catherine chatted with friends. After an encounter with the laid-back Nugents, we ran into Rich Bride, Poor Bride’s rambunctious David A. Vallee, who was quite insistent that we be introduced to BMO’s corporate donations gal Nada Ristich. Vallee alleged that she’s been bankrolling Fashion Cares since the beginning, but Ristich bashfully chimed in, saying that it hasn’t quite been from the get-go.

Later on, we spotted Jacqueline Hennessy, who greeted us with “I’m not her, you know,” in place of a hello—while she may not be her famous actress sister Jill, she was shining in her own right, wearing a pair of glimmering heirloom earrings. King took a second during his speech to talk about his meeting with philanthropists Andy Body and Alan Hanlon, who’ve been happily together for 51 years. We spoke to the gay duo, who spouted off jokes about one famous publisher who frequents the Summerhill market: “When she’s rough, it’s a three-bag day. Sometimes we can’t tell if we’re looking at her or the meat counter.” Sassy commentary aside, the pair spends a lot of their time working with charities like Casey House, ACT and other AIDS fundraising organizations. As the temperature rose, folks took to the smoking terrace, or in the case of Kim, waited in the drizzle for a chauffeured car ride home.