TIFF 2016 red-carpet lessons: Use a tailor, make sure you’re comfortable and always photograph your outfit

TIFF is one of the few annual events that brings high glamour and global furore to Canada, but its mix of daytime press conferences and city-wide theatre spread often gives its red carpets a vibe very different from the Oscars or the Globes. We spoke to some style experts for their pick on who hit it out the park this season:

Natasha Koifman

NKPR founder and frequent eTalk fashion commentator

What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: In Toronto, celebrities look comfortable with what they’re wearing, and I feel like it has something to do with being in Canada; maybe they’re not trying as hard as they normally would, and that’s a good thing.

Hard and fast rules: Everyone should find what they feel best in. Also, if you’re a Canadian actress walking a red carpet in Canada, wear a Canadian designer—in fact, it’s also an opportunity for American actors to wear Canadian designers. You’re ingratiating yourself with our country.

TIFF 2016 Favourites: Olivia Wilde wearing Canadian (Greta Constantine—and it looked so good with her baby bump.

Suzanne Timmins

Senior vice-president and fashion director at Hudson’s Bay

What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: While Cannes has a black-tie rule in effect and Sundance is quite casual, at TIFF we’ve seen celebs in looks that are chic yet playful.

How to stop an outfit from wearing you: Attitude goes a long way. It’s important to have a good relationship with your stylist so they know what will shine vs. what will overpower.


Hard and fast rules: Make sure you’ve had your gown flash tested. There’s nothing worse than your undergarments standing out more than your dress!

TIFF favourites: For this season, I was excited to see Lupita Nyong’o.

Alexander Liang

Menswear blogger

What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: I think it’s really cool that TIFF is open to the public, which allows people to have more interaction with celebrities. It’s a more casual setting, so the looks and styling are not as intense as what we see at awards shows.

Hard and fast rules: Never try anything for the first time on the red carpet. And dress for your followers; do you, but also give them what they like.


TIFF favourite: I went to the Lion premiere, and Nicole Kidman was wearing a striped Nina Ricci dress—she looked absolutely amazing.

Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski

Founder of rock-it promotions

What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: It’s in the best city in the world. I swear I’m not biased.

Hard and fast rules: Personally, I don’t like super trendy looks on the carpet.

TIFF favourites:I think Brie Larson is still establishing her red carpet style, and this was such an improvement from her look at the Oscars.

Justine Iaboni

Style blogger

What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: The stars are less guarded at TIFF.

Hard and fast rules: Definitely photograph what you plan to wear before you hit the red carpet. A picture of your entire look helps you catch if your makeup is off, if a colour isn’t working or an outfit is too sheer.

TIFF 2016 favourites: I love to see Pharrell on the red carpet.

Talia Brown

Stylist and personal shopper


What makes the TIFF red carpet so special: There’s a lot of daytime movie premieres, and during the day, you can dress with more character and even go with a street-style looks, which you could never do at the Oscars.

Hard and fast rules: If someone likes to stick to black suits, it might be fun to go deep navy or a burgundy so he can embrace his playful side. If you don’t like tightness around the hips, wear something looser on the bottom and something more fitted on the top; if you don’t like your arms, we can cover them a little bit.

TIFF favourites: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is lean and confident and I think he follows trends, so I’m always interested in what he wears. He’s been killing it for a few years now.

Lori Taylor Davis

Director of global pro lead artistry at Smashbox cosmetics

What makes TIFF special: Wardrobe determines how serious or pulled back your makeup is, and it always feels like TIFF has a bit of everything.


Hard and fast rules: Ease back on the foundation and concealer. Always work in sheer layers to enhance specific areas of your face.

TIFF favourites: Dakota Fanning—young Hollywood at its best—chose to make her lip the star of the show.


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