MAC Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25 went down on Sunday night at the Toronto’s Sony Centre for Performing Arts. The event was dubbed “A Night of Glitter & Light”- A benefit for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). The end of an era. I had the distinct pleasure of attending this historic event and let me just say, it was astounding!
The evening began at 5:30 p.m. VIP patrons were granted early entry to the event. As my guest and I arrived at the venue, we noticed that a part of Front Street East had been closed off and we spotted a huge media tent with everyone from CP24 to E! News. As if we we’re already feeling like stars, the entrance sealed the deal. We were greeted by two men in suits and ear pieces who directed us walk along the black carpet to the door way. Yes- it was that kind of event. Right before we got to the end of the carpet, there was a MAC Viva Glam back drop and a photographer snapping pictures - needless to say we struck our best poses and walked the remainder of the carpet with a renewed sense of style- red (or black in this case) carpet style!
Inside the venue we were greeted by very friendly and well informed volunteers. After we gave our tickets, we were presented with badges that said “VIP Patron”. This can’t be good for the ego I thought! Although it was only somewhere between 5:45 and 6 p.m. the centre was already buzzing with guests who were dressed to the nines in the latest fashions and live models displaying the themes and designs of the last 25 years of Fashion Cares.
Complimentary bars were spread widely across the venue so there was no major wait for drinks and the servers were on their toes serving up some very delicious hors d'oeuvres. As someone who is new to Canada with very little knowledge of the history of this event, the retrospective exhibit was both informative and entertaining. The models were fierce yet friendly; willing to pose for pictures with you and next to each display there was a plaque with the original posters as well as the year and some information about the theme. Another highlight of the pre-show cocktail reception was the display of costumes from Elton John's personal collection. They were unique and mesmeric.
The live show was scheduled to start at 8 however we were not allowed to be seated till around 8:15 or so and the show started around 8:30 p.m. approximately. I was too caught up with all the glitz and glam to care. Seating was easy and comfortable and we had a great view of the stage.
The show kicked off with a riveting display of fashion by designers such as Greta Constantine and Moschino. The show was hosted by Canadian designers Dean & Dan Caten/DSquared2 who contributed designs for Fashion Cares at the very first show in 1987- as well as Co-Chairs Michael King and David Furnish. The stage was also graced by legendary Canadian international supermodel Linda Evangelista, Canadian TV personality Jeanne Beker, ACT’s Executive Director Hazelle Palmer and Executive Director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund Nancy Mahon to name a few.
The stage also housed performances from a long list of artists. Canada was well represented with acts such as Molly Johnson, Jully Black, Jarvis Church, Chantal Kreviazuk, Billie Newton Davis, Matt Dusk, Divine Brown and Kreesha Turner- all of whom performed a beautiful melody of hits backed by the Fashion Cares Orchestra. International acts included Sky Ferreira, chart topping pop group the Scissor Sisters who gave the crowd something to dance/vogue to with hits like this summer’s “Let’s have a Kiki” and Grammy nominated Janelle Monae who in my opinion rocked the house with her soulful and upbeat repertoire - complete with back up dancers.
Last but certainly not least, David Furnish introduced us to the main act of the night- the headliner. His husband, the one and only, Sir Elton John. Immediately the crowd was at their feet, the curtains went up and Sir Elton John walked onto the stage in a blue ensemble with glittery sleeves. Yes. Despite the rumours of him possibly being a no-show due to the last minute cancellation of his show in Peterborough the previous night, he was there in all his flamboyant glory.
As he took a seat at his black Yamaha piano, he took the opportunity to say a few words. He informed us the he was scheduled to do a concert in Peterborough the previous night but due to the fact that he had lost his voice, he had to cancel the show. He said that thanks to the wonderful doctors in Toronto he is able to give a performance. I actually heard hints of hoarseness in his voice as he spoke. But as soon as he started striking those keys and singing hits like Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer and I’m Still Standing to name a few (breaking after each song to wet his throat) the crowd was as mesmerized as ever and he sounded better than the recordings.
The night ended with Sir Elton performing one more time with all of the acts of the night (with Jake of the Scissor Sisters jumping onto the piano to dance). It was a magical night. It was very well organized in my opinion. Kudos to the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and MAC Viva Glam for throwing the most talked about Fall event (apart from the Toronto Film Festival-TIFF) and supporting a good cause - the HIV/AIDS community.