Here are two posts from when I was relatively fresh on the gala circuit:  May 2, and May 8, 2008

So, I’ve done the Daffodil, Denim & Diamonds, the fur gala  and tonight I’m off to the Fondation de la Mode tribute – to Utex CEO David Gurberg this year – and fashion show by Lasalle College students.

I’ve watched ballgowns, tattered jeans, sparkle and fur on and off runways. What have I gleaned?

Heels are de rigueur.

Good hair is a must.

Don’t cover your arms – even if you’re past a certain age, or especially if you are. You’ll only get hot.

Black is safest.

Colour is more fun.

Always wear jewellery, real or fake.

The scoop so far:

The Daffodil Ball, the annual fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, is the swishest of the swish. Ballgowns and estate jewels come out, although a few of the younger set go fun and flirty in knee-length frocks. The trend away from gowns has been building for years, but this is the holdout.

Still, a few years ago Julie Snyder wore a short Lanvin dress – “long for Julie Snyder,” someone quipped, and this year Lucie Laurier also did a cocktail dress, in pale jonquil.

But the belle of the ball was probably Stephany Maillery in fully flounced Cavalli, short in front, long in back and altogether a showstopper.

Over at Naffem, the fur trade gala show held at Le Windsor this year, business cocktail gear – set off with fur bits and pieces, especially if you’re Paula Lishman, the statuesque designer of knitted fur – rules.

Generally, however, fur traders seemed a fairly frumpy lot this season. A day at Place Bonaventure, where the trading actually takes place, will do that to even the most stylish soul.

Are you wearing a dress or jeans? a friend asked as I was dressing for Denim & Diamonds. Both, I replied. (My magenta bubble dress finally got its outing, over Second yoga jeans, with crystal jewellery from Bleu Comme le Ciel.)

The seventh annual fundraiser for Hope & Cope made its mark in bringing the younger set onto the charity circuit in clothes they understand. And jeans still rule in the Hollywood première mode, in which lithe young things wear butt-enhancing denim with flimsy little tops.

There was lots of that Saturday night at Bonsecours Market, and plenty of sparkle – in real dripping diamonds, crystals and sequins and lurex– but also serious suits as VIPs sat down to dinner cooked up by TV chef Ricardo Larrivée. Meanwhile,  the younger set milled about over cocktails, smoked meat, Chinese food and Moishe’s beef in a sort of upstairs-downstairs situation.

Still to come on my party agenda: dinner with an executive for a luxury label, the opening bash of the swish Opus Hotel, followed by another opening for Le Crystal de la Montagne, several fashion shows and cocktail parties, the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as a party for Gazette advertisers. The Grand Prix follows, but that’s when I hang up my heels and stay at home.

And from May 2, 2008: A month of galas

In this merry month of May, I have decided to get out and exercise my wardrobe. It all began with the Daffodil Ball in late April, where clad in a black knee-length crystal-trimmed Tara Jarmon frock, I used up much of my personal bling supply.

What if it was all fake, amid the estate jewels that come out of the vault for the fundraising gala?

So what to do for Denim and Diamonds? (There’s no way I’m going out in jeans, and a jean jacket is simply not enough.)


On my last outing to the Hope and Cope fundraiser, a few years ago, I did just that, borrowing reproduction rocks – realistic, but honking big enough to make me break down laughing when folks asked if they were real.

I do recall getting excellent service at one of those awful, crowded DJ bars, to which I attribute the bling factor.

This Denim and Diamonds, I intend to go the crystal route. At Agatha, a choker with a giant crystal camelia – very Chanel – beckoned. The white crystal was the more blingy, but I liked a purple number to match my new magenta bubble dress (not yet worn, hence the need to get out and about).

I almost bought a pretty floral crystal drop earring, with matching choker on silver-coloured metal, but then I realized I have the same thing on a black metal, bought several years ago – and worn to every Daffodil I’ve covered. (That would be three.)


Over to Bleu Comme le Ciel, where a French collection called Les Nereides has been an object of my fancy for many years. Last year, I nearly lost it (my savings, that is) over a long string of pale aqua crystals, so sweet, lovely and evocative of crystal-clear Mediterranean waters – that was so long ago and far away – you want to cry.

Similar necklaces in clear or milky white are back, and I will be buying some, borrowing others and buying the earrings to match.

The French call matched sets of jewels parrure, and the concept of matchy-matchy is not so much in currency these days. I don’t care. Pile it on, I always say.