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Gathering Canadian tastemakers such as designer Brian Gluckstein and Holt Renfrew's Barbara Atkin together to discuss trends is a fun proposition that guarantees some lively chatter.

Broadcaster Liza Fromer moderated a panel consisting of Barbara Atkin, event designer Bill Fulghum, art advisor Jessica Yakubowicz Herzig, Brian Gluckstein and travel expert Charlie Scott at Eat Drink Give on Oct. 22 by Moms for Sinai in Toronto. The evening raised over $125,000 for two new delivery suites for the David & Stacey Cynamon Mother & Baby Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Here are some of the panelists' bon mots about what we can expect to see in the world of fashion, décor, art and travel.

Global influences: "We are attracted to brands but we don't want to look like our friends," explains designer Brian Gluckstein (shown above). "We might like their aesthetic, but we don't want to look the same, and that goes for our homes too." To cultivate an individual look, he advises mixing up styles: put a Louis XVI chest beside a Deco chair and contemporary button-tufted sofa. "People will think it's busy but there is a tension between the high and low, formal and casual, dark and light."

Brian also explains how brands have to adapt to regions. "I went to a hotel in Arizona that had mahogany paneling and ship prints. It was so dark I kept bumping into walls. I thought 'why is this Boston interior in the desert?'" But reflecting local culture doesn't mean checking far-flung influences at the door. "I get emails from clients on vacation sending me photos of floor finishes and I think it's fantastic."

Gallery Walls: Private art advisor Jessica Yakubowicz Herzig (second from right) notes, "Gallery walls are a big trend that we are seeing a lot of. There might be a mask from Africa, a $30 print you bought online, an investment piece and a portrait you inherited. And the Internet is fueling the global marketplace. You can see Instagrams of Banksy's artwork being posted all over New York." Jessica also mentioned the rise of art fairs when it comes to demystifying art purchases. "Art fairs let you see the world under one roof; galleries can be intimidating."

Food as exploration: Charlie Scott (right), the co-founder of Trufflepig custom trip planning, says, "We don't want to take the trips everybody else is taking. We want uniqueness and regional experiences. Your mother was wrong: talk to strangers! Connect with real people." And food has increasingly become a framework for a trip. "Our clients want to go to a market and meet the guy who makes the bread, or the guy that makes the olive oil, then go back to the bakery and find out how he makes it. Food gives great reasons to engage in local customs."

Communal tables: Event designer Bill Fulghum (third from left) explains that at parties, "long tables are absolutely what is happening. It's more conversational." Bill showed a photo of a forest wedding in Caledon, Ontario complete with a moss "aisle" carpet ringed by evergreens, and a tent ceiling dripping with purple Wisteria blooms. "Clients want an element of fantasy, whether it's a destination wedding or a walk in the woods."

Spotlight on Africa: Holt Renfrew VP Barbara Atkin cites customization as the driving trend in fashion. "We live in a globalized world where there are fewer brands, yet we continue to look different. In the 60s everybody dressed the same way. We are unique leaders and have become our own brand. We don't wear one designer, it wasn't like that before." Atkin also pointed out the strong influence of Africa. "It's very authentic, whether it's the country's music or fashion, it resonates. Africa understands how to adorn an individual — whether by braids or tattoos or handmade jewelry — so they look unique."

Photo credits:
1-6: Trish Mennell Photography

Author: 

Wendy Jacob

Photographer: 

Trish Mennell Photography

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