Thereís something eerily calm about a TIFF party red carpet. Standing behind photographers, fans and reporters doing reps of microphone thrusts at the Holt Renfrew party to launch Sienna Miller and sister Savannahís Twenty8Twelve line is about as serene as the scene gets. Even when the Millers arrive and Sienna jumps out of her SUV bronzed in a circus masterís top hat, the only thing that upsets the calm is a few calls of her name from fans across the street and the perpetual beat of camera snaps and flashes.
Inside Holts, the store has been draped in red velvet and cast with big top strong men and fire eaters. Misshapesí Leigh Lezark slinks around in the red, skinny jeans that are this weekís NOW We Want while Greg Krelenstein spins in a gold lionís cage. CSI Miami actress Sophia Milos does a lap around the room before riding back down the escalator.
The clothing is hidden in a corner by Millerís VIP suite and its contemporary price point and abundant hook-and-eye, tailored details win over the guest list of shoppers and fashion media.
Milos has already made a costume change and worked the room by the time I arrive at the annual Shmooze. Ben Mulrooney and Tanya Kim have crashed 299 Queen West now that CTV owns the CHUM ship and leftover Canadian Idols, MTV Canada VJs and Degrassiís Snake (Stefan Brogren) are everywhere. Itís mostly Canadian content like Maestro, Tonya Lee Williams and Aaron Ashmore but Hillary Duff has opened the program with a good olí Much Music street show and Paul Sorvino adds a hint of international star power.
The crescendo of the evening comes at midnight. The Design Exchange is surrounded by a silent ring of publicists, security guards and fans crashing the arrivals for George Clooneyís Michael Clayton after party hosted by Time Style & Design Magazine. Clooney spent an hour working the red carpet at his Roy Thompson Hall gala screening so he hasnít arrived yet. Jake Gyllenhaal has and is installed in the VIP room on the trading floor. Some say Reese Witherspoon is there too.
Clive Owen makes an entrance and Iím treated to a lesson on how the gossip pros score their scoop. The National Postís Shinan Govani attaches himself onto Owenís entourage and easily glides past security.
My back is to the door when Clooney arrives and itís like he has a Hoover hanging around his neck because every head in the room is sucked in his direction. When I turn, I make eye contact and maybe we have a moment. Not the letís run off to Lake Como together-type moment most women in the room are craving but a joint ďItís late and Iím tiredĒ.
Clooney sticks around though and chat ups Norman Jewison. Co-star Tilda Swindon, that witch from Narnia and muse to designers Viktor and Rolf arrives in a grey, draped gown and a slick or red hair.
Star sightings: Juliette Binoche shopping the designer racks at Yorkvilleís George C and Chantal Kreviazuk grabbing hubby Raine Maida his own Right Hand Gal pendant at the Windsor Armsí IT Lounge gifting suite.