The New York Times may have chosen 2016 as the year to pick up on how “hip” Canada has always been, but for us over here in the North, having our cultural identity affirmed with a pat on the head by the American press is quite simply, redundant. Please, don’t get us wrong, it’s sweet that our border buddies want to send us a shout out, but really, all we Canucks need to reference when measuring our country’s “cool” quotient is its plethora of annual arts events, like Toronto’s Luminato Festival.

Now going on a decade of hosting the nation’s finest artistic talents, Luminato—running June 10th to the 26th—has become a cultural touchstone in Canada. And as those plugged into the arts and culture scene will tell you, esteem for the event’s line-up is equal to anticipation for the festival’s opening night—counted amongst the county’s biggest gala evenings. This time around, with Luminato turning 10-years-old, nothing short of an all-out glam anniversary bash is to be expected come June 9th—especially monumental given it will be Jorn Weisbrodt’s fifth and final year acting as Luminato’s Artistic Director.

When speaking of this year’s gala theme, “Today is the Future,” Weisbrodt becomes passionate. [It] reminds us about the fact that the future starts in the present,” he declares. “So why wait in shaping what the future looks like? You do not need to know the end of the road when you start travelling on it. Start going down a new and adventurous road that leads into the future today.”

Cue the crane for the raising of the world’s largest mirror ball—a vision of the future.


It’s called, “One Thousand Speculations” and it is the brainchild of Montreal artist Michel de Broin. Originally unveiled during Nuit Blanche in Paris, back in October of 2009, this will mark the second occasion festival organizers have hoisted up the art installation. In 2013, the sculpture—measuring 7.9 metres in diameter and made up of 1,000 mirrors—sparkled overtop the crowd in David Pecaut Square, where it hung in memory of the square’s namesake and festival co-founder. This year, the massive disco ball will illuminate the Hearn Generating Station, where opening night guests can dance the night away under De Broin’s version of a starry sky.

“I want to blow people’s minds,” gushes Weisbrodt of the installation in the Hern. “I want them [guests] to feel like they are somewhere else, in a different universe—in the universe of possibilities, creativity… the future. I want them to leave hungry for more experiences like this. I want people to see something they have never seen before, something that they never expected to see; and I am pretty sure that is exactly what is going to happen.”

Between the futuristic spectacle promised by the bright reflection of 1,000 mirrors, speckling the interior of a decommissioned electrical generating station (that happens to boast the capacity to fit the Statue of Liberty on its side) and a performance line-up that includes a collaboration (entitled monumental) between The Holy Body Tattoo dance company and art-rockers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, alongside a remounting of Rufus Wainwright’s acclaimed 2006 tribute to Judy Garland, “Rufus Does Judy,” (handy for those who missed the singer’s sold-out Carnegie Hall performances way back when), Luminato is gearing up for one enthralling 10th anniversary.

And since no gala is quite as enjoyable when one is not wearing her ideal outfit, below, we’ve assembled a variety of party look options for anyone planning on joining fellow festival-goers for a dance under Luminato’s record-breaking mirror ball. (Getting dressed to “Turn the Beat Around” optional.)

Luminato Festival 2016- Toronto - Gala Fashion

The key to channeling Disney’s favourite princess is a romantic dress—one so sparkly, it looks like it has been tailored using thread spun from fairy dust. You can go short or long, but we love the sophisticated above-the-knee cut of this Fall 2016 look from Narces. As for accessories, with the heightened twinkle of your dress, its best to go easy on the baubles. Keep it simple with earrings that radiate classic charm (see Maison Birks Rosée du Matin collection for dazzling options, like these pearl and diamond stunners). For shoes, we’ve found the perfect answer to ol’ Ella’s hard-to-source glass slipper thanks to Bionda Castana. The peek-a-boo cutout design of the line’s “Bay” heel mimics the transparency of glass, while a polish of silver glitter suggests pumpkin time is far past midnight.


Wearing white to a party can often feel like you’re preparing to walk down the aisle, rather than conquer the red carpet. Steer clear of bridal fashion with a more laid-back design that offsets the formality of the colour. Try something like this kimono-style dress from Ann Tayor, a look that can be worn as easily in the day, as it can be in the evening. To elevate this look’s glam factor, rely on accessories (we like the Riley Keough-esque feel of this combo featuring earrings from Club Monaco with bracelet by Biko) and towering heels that exclaim “dance time!” We recommend Chloé’s “Kendal” sandal, a dream in black suede.


When you’re wearing a floor-grazing gown, like this look from Chanel’s Spring 2016 Haute Couture collection, you should only drink Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial. Why? Because you’re a sophisticated lady that rivals Audrey herself. (And, let’s not forget, Miss Hepburn “believe[s] in pink.”) To stick with the silver screen starlet vibe, opt for statement jewelry, but keep pieces to the bare minimum in order to stay modern. Go gold with diamond accents (crystal works too!) for old Hollywood elegance, like this spiral cocktail ring by Alexis Bittar, from the designer’s pre-Fall collection. And finally, how about matching your pumps to that bubbly liquid in your flute? We love the dusty pink hue of Christian Louboutin’s new “Marlenarock” heel (currently available to pre-order). Given that pink dominated the Fall 2016 runways, there’s no time like the present to stock up on all things rose-coloured.

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