TIFF JOURNAL: At the film festival’s biggest and best party
Five reasons why the Vanity Fair, Belvedere, Fox Searchlight party was TIFF’s top fete.
This festival, Laura deCarufel and Jennifer Lee, the co-editors of
, had the high honour of reporting from TIFF’s coolest films, parties, and events. Stay tuned for our wrap-up coverage this week, including our favourite moments from the festival, and a TIFF vs. Cannes showdown! When is a party is more than just a party? How about, for starters, when the words "
r" are on the invite? Officially known as the "
Vanity Fair, Belvedere, Fox Searchlight Party", the extravaganza that took over the lobby of the Thompson Toronto during TIFF was unofficially referred to as "the
Vanity Fair party" with the same envy and excitement that the magazine itself elicits. Jenn and I went. (I
know. Lucky.) In the days since, we’ve tried to pinpoint exactly what, in a festival of great parties, made it so special. It was difficult to deconstruct the magic, but we came up with a list of five reasons why we loved it best.
1. Our A-list beauty armour There’s nothing like being nose-to-nose with Marion Cotillard to make you want to sit in a darkened room with a Big Gulp and season one of
Pretty Little Liars. (She’s
unreal.) Fortunately, Jenn and I had the pleasure of visiting the Murale/Sally Hershberger suite at the InterContinental Hotel before the party started. The Murale makeup artists gave us dramatic eyes and camera-ready skin, while the talented Hershberger team, overseen by Sally herself, created softly structured waves, for Jenn, and a Brigitte Bardot updo, for me. (Check out our interview with Sally—and a pic of the looks—
2. The venue There aren’t many hotel lobbies that could host such a star-studded fete, but the
Thompson Toronto keeps proving that it’s worth every column inch of its "It spot" rep. The lobby was transformed into a perfectly dimly lit space that always felt full without ever feeling crowded. In the main room—which is dominated by the hand-painted mural of the Toronto skyline by Spanish artist Javier Mariscal—we ordered our first drinks next to Juliette Lewis, who was sitting at the bar, wearing a sparkly black dress and chatting to a friend. On our way to the next room, we saw Steve Nash and Danny Boyle. In the next room, we saw Sam Rockwell sitting on a leather banquette and Darren Aronofsky wearing a scarf. Divided up into different spaces, the Thompson lobby is a perfect spot to circulate in—there were always new layers of the party to discover.
3. The drinks & snacks A minor point in the remembering, but a major one in the moment. There were at least three bar areas, and at most we waited 60 seconds before ordering. Each station offered the evening’s signature cocktails, which were created with four Fox Searchlight movies in mind:
127 Hours, Never Let Me Go, Conviction and
Black Swan. We opted for the blackberry-tinged Black Swan, which Darren Aronofsky reportedly enjoyed so much that he asked for the recipe. (Check out the recipe
here.) The hors d’oeuvres were a delicious mix of savoury and sweet, including a lovely hazelnut mousse.
4. The stars You didn’t have to be a star-gazer to be feel star-struck that night. Kat Dennings was there, as were Carey Mulligan, Hilary Swank, and Thandie Newton. For me, Marion Cotillard burned the brightest. Wearing a strapless navy dress with her hair twisted in an elegant updo, she spent most of the evening standing in one spot, as other celebrities—including Josh Brolin, who is surprisingly short, but
so attractive—came over to say hello. Another highlight? Observing how Guillaume Canet, Cotillard’s actor/director boyfriend, was always in her orbit. They were friendly with everyone, but always came back to each other.
5. The vibe Nothing worse than a party with a VIP room, and this party proved it. Without a red rope separating the stars from the crowd, the crowd calmed down. There was some staring and whispering, but there were no autograph hunters or stampedes when word came that James Franco had joined the party after midnight with his
127 Hours co-star Kate Mara. From this end, it felt civilized, but still otherwordly. Stars, they’re just like us? No, but we like them better this way.
Read more of our TIFF journal!
Meeting Sally Hershberger: Seven questions for the world’s top hair stylist
At the Nikki Beach lingerie fashion show
Meet Katie Boland: Our pick for Canada’s sweetheart on TIFF style, rappers and
The ultimate film festival playlist: A top Toronto DJ picks 11 tunes for 11 nights of TIFF madness
At the Black Swan gala: Inside the exclusive premiere of the fashion set’s most anticipated film of the year
The festival’s A-list drink:
as a blackberry cocktail. Why not?
Beauty 911: Expert tips on looking rested, refreshed, and camera-ready
Skin care 911: Healthy skin tips during TIFF madness
Snaps from last night’s best party
Meet Lauren Lee Smith: In conversation with one of Canada’s coolest acting talents
Day 1: At the Aveda Experience Centre and the Bell Lightbox
On pre-festival party duty: At Birks and 99 Sudbury