In 2009, Suzanne Rogers launched Suzanne Rogers Presents, a splashy annual fundraising gala in support of children’s charities. Toronto’s style set have been breaking out their flashiest digs—and their cheque books—in the name of fashion and philanthropy ever since. Each year’s gala features a haute runway presentation by a living fashion legend (past participants have included Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa). The 2014 edition, which takes place on April 28 at The Carlu, belongs to Zac Posen, whose elegant gowns have made the designer a fixture on red carpets around the world.
With just days to go before the big night, Rogers chats to FLARE about fashion muses, her Cinderella moment and bringing glamour back to Toronto.
Why did you first launch this event?
I’ve always been known for my love of fashion and my love of children’s charities, so I wanted to combine the two. My vision was to bring world-class fashion talent to Canada and improve the lives of children in Canada and in the world.
What qualities do you look for in a designer to partner with?
I want to bring glamour to the city. I love designers who make women look feminine through their design and craftsmanship, and who know how to give an incredible runway show. Many of these designers have never presented a collection in Canada, so I want to showcase their talent, all for a good cause, and bring a real wow factor to the city.
Speaking of wow factor, Zac Posen has plenty of it.
Zac Posen is total glamour. He fits perfectly beside Marchesa and Oscar. Obviously he’s a different designer—he’s young, he’s dynamic, he’s only 33…but he still brings that Old World glamour to his gowns. They’re beautifully crafted, they’re sophisticated, they’re feminine, they’re timeless.
What else is in store for this year’s event?
Lauren Santo Domingo is my honorary chair. She’s a style icon and an incredibly talented and dynamic woman. She’s very tight with Zac so it’s a really good fit. She’s also bringing her good friend Derek Blasberg. And Hamish Bowles will be here as well! Then I’ve got Coco Rocha and Anna Cleveland walking—both are muses for Zac. And we’ll also have The Misshapes performing. Everybody knows Leigh Lezark; she’s a muse for Karl Lagerfeld. It’s all fashion glamour for this one!
Is glamour due for a comeback?
Absolutely! Women love glamour, and I think we’ve lost some of that in the past decade or so. Designers like Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa—they really keep it going forward with these gowns that they create. And women want to wear them!
Do you have a favourite Zac Posen dress?
I’m wearing one for the gala and one for the after-party! I went to his atelier in October and got to try on all of these big gowns—they were just unbelievable! Zac is such a craftsman, and to have the designer’s input at the fitting is so big. He and I are friends, so he would say, “Oh no that’s wrong,” or “This colour is right,” or “Try this style.” I felt like Cinderella-slash-Scarlet O’Hara! He put me in some unbelievable gowns but I think we picked the perfect one… —Nancy Won