Keds designed by Dana de Kuyper of Damned Dollies. Photo by Danijela Pruginic.
This Saturday night may shock the social system: there’s going to be a “gala evening” of a fundraiser, held at a downtown museum, attended by the fashion set. No, that’s not the shock. This is: we guarantee the best-dressed babes there really do alter vintage frocks, know what Dior is, and frequent “mom-and-pop shops on Queen West.”
SOL[e]d! is a night at the Bata Shoe Museum to fete (and raise funds for) Worn Journal, Canada’s finest indie fashion rag. Tickets are just $28 (no open bar, but cheap drinks and free food), and tunes, swinging ’60s soul and pop delivered by the Shake a Tail DJs, are defiantly uncool. Dress code? Pfft.
“At past parties we’ve had tiaras and elbow-length gloves, punk kids in prom gear, ’70s tuxes, and heels on boys and girls alike,” says Worn editor Serah-Marie McMahon, adding that, unlike other fashion and society events in the city, it’s not a “meet-and-greet.”
“This is a raucous good time,” promises McMahon. “Don’t tell the Bata—I’m not sure they’re ready for what’s going to hit them!”
The museum of fancy footwork—which happens to be located in Toronto’s epicentre of the well-heeled (327 Bloor Street West, to be exact)—is prepared for one main event, at least: the auctioning-off of custom, Canadian-designed Keds, with part of the proceeds going to Fashion Cares.
Rewind: to help make cash for Worn—or maybe to make amends for Mischa Barton?—Keds handed out sneakers to young Canadian designers and said (pun warning) “run with them.” Run wild they did, turning the blank canvas kicks into works of sometimes wearable, sometimes not, sidewalk art (we dare you to slip into Team Macho‘s jar-pickled kicks). Of the twenty-three honourary sneaker-heads selling their soles, there’s a kooky Toronto contingent: fashion sketcher and blogger Danielle Meder, writer and artist Sonja Ahler, doll-crafter Dana de Kuyper, and frock stars Kelly Freeman and Rory Lindo of Damzels in this Dress, among others. This most remarkable shoe rack has been up since May 21 at the museum; come Saturday night, all pairs will be auctioned away, with bidding beginning at 9 p.m.
But what of the style set in attendance? Will they trade red soles for rubber ones? Sonja Ahlers, whose pastel-happy Keds are fit for an Easter Bunny and pictured above, has her laces crossed.
“It’s like early ’90s rave days in London, England,” says Ahlers. “I was there in my early twenties and was perplexed by all these people dancing for hours at a time—in their running shoes. Then I understood. Perfect sense. [Sneakers are] the best dance shoe!”
The party kicks off at 7 p.m. and shakes down ’til 1 a.m. Buy tickets online or in person at Winkel (1107 Queen Street East), Left Feet (88 Nassau Street), or Frou Frou (1618 Queen Street West), and get a one-year subscription to Worn in the bargain.