Patrons of Frocktail sip on their wine and admire the dresses-cum-art exhibits. Patrons of Frocktail sip on their wine and admire the dresses-cum-art exhibits. Cailin Smart
As an avid shopper, it has always baffled me why clothes can’t be admired and revered in the way popular culture appreciates artwork and music. This is why the organizers of the Frocktail Party understand me and hundreds of other frustrated Toronto fashionistas. The Frocktail Party is to clothes what a concert is to a song: shopping, if you will, minus the transaction.

The Frocktail Party was started by a group of fashion-loving friends (Ali Reid, Taylor Wallace, Catherine Pringle, Sabrina Carr, Christina Perreault, Lorraine Forster, Jen Foster, Vanessa Oliver, and Jessica Oliver) who wanted to make a difference in raising awareness and funds for the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The designer dresses were donated and then auctioned off, with prices starting at a very low at $50 to $200.

The frock room, in the penthouse of the Burroughes Building on Queen West, was packed with beautiful people for the November 12 night of this year's Frocktail. Among them were such fashion gurus as Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of design team Greta Constantine, Peach Berserk designer Kingi Carpenter, and the always impeccable Toronto socialite Ainsley Kerr. The crowd enthusiastically browsed the couture selection, gasping in admiration - with the party’s namesake cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in manicured hand. While the blue cosmo might have been near-toxic, the couture was heavenly.

The iconic fashion houses were heavily represented. A few stunning pieces by Diane von Furstenberg (a provincial floral-print tunic had its own entourage of fawning fashionistas) made their mark, as well as some Dolce and Gabanna with signature heavily structured corset-inspired bodices. Temperley also made an appearance via a boho-chic, pink-patterned day frock.

While the racks of the fashion mainstays were enjoyable, the stars of the evening were home-sewn Canadian. A cute black assymetrical cocktail number by Frocktail attendees Greta Constantine merited admiration, but the drama prize went to a python-and-ruffles, sheer full-length dress by Vawk designer Sunny Fong (of Project Runway Canada fame), and a deep forest-toned gown by Canadian fashion’s own master of eveningwear, Montrealer Andy The-Anh.

The Canadian theme continued with donated pieces worn by local celebrities. The Vawk number belonged to Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha, and there were also dresses from the famous closets of Jeanne Beker, Tanya Kim, and Cheryl Hickey.

The Frocktail Party attempted to re-shape our conception of shopping at a time when it is in desperate need of a makeover. The event elevated our perception of clothing to art, proving that dresses need not be mere objects of vanity. It is a concept worthy of development and, perhaps on a more accessible scale, would yield even more interest from recession-ridden wallets.

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