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My Look For The 2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards

It’s been exactly a week since Toronto gathered to celebrate the creme de la creme of Canadian fashion at the 2019 CAFA’s and I am still not over this dress yet. I don’t think I will ever be!  This is one of the rare nights out of the entire year where everyone puts a little extra “sumthin” into their look and does their damn best to wear and support the amazing fashion talent coming out of this country.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
With Canadian fashion designer and STITCHED contestant Christopher Paunil

Lots of commentary on Instagram stories about what I should wear when I posted stories from Christopher Paunil’s designer, the Toronto based design talent who created this beautiful fit and flare gown. If you’ve ever looked for a wedding dress from a Canadian designer you 100% have come across his work. If you’re fashion obsessed, his name isn’t new to you either or perhaps you may recognize him from STITCHED, the fashion focused competition show that aired last year on Slice. Christopher’s bread and butter if you will is bridal and he absolutely kills the game, but his evening wear is actually my fave. I’ve had a long time love affair with the designer and have worn him many times, but this dress just seemed extra special. Every single piece of clothing I have ever worn that he has designed, has fit like a glove and always makes the decision on what to wear so difficult. There were four looks in the running for CAFA this year and it all came down to the the sexy “Ezra” gold sateen jumpsuit and the stunning “Emmy” fit and flare gown in the end. Both are part of the designer’s current collection and the latter is available by order for $2,250.00.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
left to right: Stylists Talia Brown-Thall, Liv Judd, and Zeina Esmail
2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
With Nadia Pizzimenti and Talia Brown-Thall
2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
a quick selfie taken at the Joe Fresh table before the awards commenced

So, this was the second time I shared my outfit options from a designer’s studio on my IG stories and you know what…I actually LOVE you guys weighing in and sharing your perspective on what you feel is the best choice. I am thinking this may need to now become a thing because this time around, it totally helped me make my final decision. Although, so many of you did rally behind the jumpsuit, but not to worry, I am actually going to buy it . To be honest, the houndstooth fabric just looked so stunning when I tried it on and the drama of the large bow and train at the back just took shit to the next level. Because of that, I wanted to keep my make-up relatively simple and opted for a subdued smokey eye and a punch of colour on my lips.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter

Photography by Chris Cheung and George Pimentel

I cannot take credit for the make-up. I don’t have the skill set to beat my own face like this. My beauty look was courtesy of the amazing team at Charlotte Tilbury. The goal was to create a flawless look, but one where my skin still looked real and not airbrushed like that IG make-up look that is becoming so popular. . My MUA that day, Sidonie, mixed a bit of the Hollywood Flawless Filter as a complexion booster in deep bronze with the Magic Foundation. Guys, Charlotte Tilbury has been slaying palettes lately. I have several eye palettes I die for, but I have yet to purchase any of the cheek palettes. We use Lovegasm on my face last week and it will for sure be my next Charlotte beauty purchase. Even the packaging of it is absolutely stunning.

For the lips, I ditched my original idea of going with Charlotte Tilbury’s “Stoned Rose“, a more neutral colour and decided to go big and bold with a beautiful orangey-red matte lippy called “Tell Laura”. I topped of the look with some custom lashes from Teka Neufville. They are the most beautiful and durable strip lashes I think I’ve ever worn. Super light on the lash line and can last up to 40 wears.

Special thank you to the amazing Christopher Paunil and Sidonie who is part of the amazing team at Charlotte Tilbury Holt Renfrew in Yorkville.

A Night At The Opera(nation)

Well folks, I don’t normally post about events on my site but there was so much love for the dress I wore to last week’s Canadian Opera Company’s Operanation that I’ve decided to post some photos and details on my look here. As soon as I heard that this year’s Operanation party was going to have a whimsical fairytale theme, I’m not going to lie, I got pretty stoked. The concept of formal has seemed to have disappeared over the last few years, which makes me really sad. Somehow denim has made it’s way into events where the invitation clearly cites “formal” and I think it’s time we bring some glam back to the Toronto scene.

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown
Wearing the “Yasmin” by Narces. Shoes by Rene Caovilla from David’s Shoes. Shot by David A. Pike

In the past, I have been very predictable and safe with my evening wear options. Black, black anything form fitting, oh and did I say black? I promised myself this year I would wear more colour and so far…so good. I love supporting Canadian designers because we have so much amazing talent in this country. I got to wear a dream of a dress designed by the beautiful Nikki Yassemi, the creative mind behind Narces, a Toronto based womenswear line that specializes in bridal, evening and special occasion ready-to-wear.

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown

The bestest friend a gal can have and the perfect fairy godmother to Maxwell. Talia Brown has really helped me evolve my personal style during our four year friendship. Talia is in Self Portrait from Fitzroy Boutique.

There were several options, making it nearly impossible to choose, but narrowed them down to about five with the help of my best friend and stylist, Talia Brown. She knows me and my body better than anyone in the world. Yes, even better than Réjean…so outfit decisions for big events are rarely made without her. I was also lucky enough to get instantaneous feedback from so many of you guys when I posted our front runners on IG stories. THANK YOU FOR THAT! It made my decision that much easier and it was also surprising to hear that you all loved the pink belted “Felixa” ball gown with pockets. That one was a no brainer for a fairytale theme, but after much deliberation and the coaxing of Nikki, we went with the Yasmin gown. You can find on her website Narces.com and is available as pre-order dress only. Her stance on it,

“Everyone can do a ball gown, but why don’t you put your own twist on the theme and make it a bit sexy? This is a sexy fairytale!”

And you know what, she was right. This piece of magic is made of the most beautiful colour tulle with a slit that hit at just the right place. The belt detail is intended to be worn at the front, but at the very last minute I decided to switch it up and wear the bow in the back to enhance the train.

Here are some of my favourite photo moments from the evening

COC 2019 Operanation
L to R: Andrew Lovesey, Me, Nikki Yassemi of Narces, Talia Brown-Thall, Nelson Thall
COC 2019 Operanation
The most entertaining plus one ever – Andrew Lovesey

Speaking of amazing dresses and evening soirées…I am in the midst of planning for next week’s CAFA Awards and the gown hunting has officially commenced. You can catch all the dress options and behind the scenes on my stories.

A very special thank you to the talented David Pike who captured the most stunning photos of Talia and I before the event and to Chris Cheung, who somehow was stealth enough to really cool candid moments in the rain, as we entered The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

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