Stars come out to celebrate 25 years of 'FashionTelevision'

Stars come out to celebrate 25 years of 'FashionTelevision'
by: Tyrone Warner

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High heels, short skirts and high end tailored suits: Would you expect anything else?

Toronto’s fashion elite turned out Tuesday night to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Canadian fashion industry staple “FashionTelevision,” in a unique venue: the transformed offices at 299 Queen Street West.

“FashionTelevision” launched in 1985 as a half-hour program, produced by Jay Levine and hosted by Jeanne Beker.

Clad in Greta Constantine, Beker enjoyed the chance to celebrate the show’s momentous anniversary with friends and co-workers that helped create the show over it’s many, many seasons.

“I’ve seen some of my old colleagues, and it’s very heartwarming. These were guys that stuck out in the trenches with me for many years, and that’s what this is all about,” says Beker.

“Fashion people are always looking on to the next, and I can’t look back too much. I’m compelled to be in the present, but I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do tomorrow. I would have never guessed in my wildest dreams the success and longevity we have, but it’s been a great team from the get-go, and the ride continues. It’s quite fabulous… there’s something to be said for fashion, every body’s gone fashion crazy. It’s a good thing.”

One of the people that came out to celebrate with Beker was Leah Miller, wearing Alexander McQueen with Balmain heels, who arrived at the party after wrapping up an elimination episode of “So You Think You Can Dance Canada.”

“I just finished work, and I don’t normally go out, but I came because Jeanne is a very good friend. We had a great time at the Olympics together this year, we were both very lonely there, away from home, and we really bonded,” says Miller.

“I really admire her. Of all the hosts I know, she’s so down to earth and doesn’t have any ego, and that’s very rare to find that. I grew up watching ‘FashionTelevision.’”

One fashion industry newcomer, Jessica Biffi, winner of the second season of “Project Runway Canada,” says she knew she arrived on the scene after being interviewed by Beker following her first runway show at Fashion Week in Toronto.

“The show is turning 25. I’m 27. So I’ve been watching it for my entire life. I didn’t understand it when I was little. But my mom was telling me the other day, I was watching ‘FashionTelevision,’ and I saw a runway show, and I saw a person come out at the end who was clearly a designer, and I asked my mom who that was, and she said it was the person who made the clothes, and I said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do,’” says Biffi.

“‘FashionTelevision’ made me realize there was a world I didn’t understand that I wanted to learn about.”

While many women have tuned into “FashionTelevision” over the years for it’s coverage of clothing -- the opposite is true for many of the men attending the celebration.

According to “Listener” star Ennis Esmer, his sentiment about “FashionTelevision” is true for many young Canadian males:  “To be perfectly honest, the first time I saw a naked woman was on ‘FashionTelevision.”

“My mother wouldn’t let me watch ‘Nightrider’ because ‘FashionTelevision’ was on. She’s super jealous she couldn’t be here right now,” adds the actor.

His co-star, Craig Olejnik, says he appreciates the show on a more technical level.

“Who didn’t grow up in Canada and see ‘FashionTelevision’ on? I’m a photographer, and modeling and photography go hand in hand.”

Season two of “The Listener” begins shooting in Toronto in the near future.

Other CTV celebs at the party had the following to say about “FashionTelevision” and its 25th anniversary:

“The Bridge” star Theresa Joy: “I love fashion, I love looking at it because it’s art. I try to stick to the basics, and when I do something wild and crazy, I’m inspired by it.

Newly pregnant “Bridge” star Inga Cadranel : “‘FashionTelevion’ was one of the most important shows I watched before becoming an actress, fashion and acting go hand in hand, and it helped me when I was growing up and developing a passion for it.”

Paul Popowich, star of “The Bridge”: “Fashion makes the world go ‘round. I heard it was going to be a heck of a party, and I figured why not? I grew up with ‘FashionTelevision.’ To be here feels surreal, I feel like I’ve stepped into the TV show.”

Newly named as the replacement for Lloyd Robertson on CTV National News, Lisa LaFlamme: “I’m been watching Jeanne for 25 years, and I come from a family of all women, so fashion was incredibly important in our house, and Jeanne really set the tone. It’s amazing to see her here tonight, still so fabulous and a contributor to the world of fashion.”

“So You Think You Can Dance Canada” judge Tre Armstrong: “I’m glad I’m here. It’s about the fashion movement. Toronto has it. Jeanne is a Canadian icon. She’s a Canadian inspiration. She’s a Canadian monument to everything woman in fashion. I grew up watching her. And she’s not old! And I’m not old either! I love what she does for fashion.



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