Friday, September 13, 2013


By Lynda Castonguay

When Jewelry And Film Link Up
Maison Birks & L’Oreal’s TIFF VIP screening of August: Osage County

Photos courtesy of Maison Birks and Getty Images

TORONTO - Apres-work for me typically involves going to the gym, getting in at least an hour of intense exercise, and then a slew of less than interesting home endeavours peppered with perusing internet fashion and wicked Songza playlists. But this past Monday, I stepped it up a glamorous notch as I was invited to an exclusive event hosted by Maison Birks, Canada’s leading jeweler since 1879.

Before delving into those details, allow me to put that impressive resume into perspective. Their inception took place twelve years after the Canadian Confederation. Twelve. Their presence in the luxury jewelry business is of heavy weight status, so you can imagine my excitement over their invitation to preview their upcoming fall collections pre-TIFF screening of one of the festival’s most anticipated films, August: Osage County.

Lynda Castonguay (Fashion Studio Magazine) & Jessica Mulroney (Maison Birks' Style Expert)
Photo courtesy of Maison Birks

Propped up above the red carpet, the media and the masses of fans, Maison Birks had myself, editors and stylists alike up in the L’Oreal Beauty Lounge for some pre-screening pampering. Hors d’oeuvres beautifully laid out, champagne, wine and espresso on constant rotation, Lindt chocolates by the basket full, and exclusive-to-TIFF L’Oreal beauty products for the taking - Maison Birks and L’Oreal took care of us in true Hollywood North fashion.

Never skipping a beat, the Birks team had me at hello. They began with their usual warm welcome, had champagne in my hand before I even knew what was happening, and then walked me through their collections with poise, a characteristic so true to Maison Birks’ core. The launch of these collections is one of the many elements of their re-branding strategies, fervent pushes to reintroduce their 135 year old company anew to the market. 

Jean-Christophe Bédos (President and CEO for Birks & Mayors), Lynda Castonguay from
Fashion Studio Magazine & Eva Hartling (Marketing and Communications Director for Birks & Mayors).
Photo courtesy of Maison Birks

Photo courtesy of Maison Birks

Both Eva Hartling and Jean-Christophe Bédos, Birks and Mayors’ Director of Marketing & Communications and its CEO, respectively, shared the responsibility of telling the story of their latest collections: Links, Splash, Return to Me, Butterfly, Muse Gemstone and Pearl, Pebble & Pearl, My first Canadian Diamond, and bridal collections Pure Desire and North Star. With those French accents and that level of jewelry, it is story telling you never really want to have end. 

BIRKS MUSE PEARL Collection, natural oval  freshwater pearl earrings in 18kt rose gold

BIRKS MUSE GEMSTONE Collection, onyx & amethyst necklace in 18kt rose gold

BIRKS MUSE GEMSTONE Collection, amethyst drop earrings in 18kt rose gold

After all was said and done, we sat back and took full advantage of our prime bird’s eye view location for some star gazing – the ones on foot, of course.

Abigail Breslin was all grown up in an overflowing black and floral dress, with a rep routinely repositioning her side pony tail. At that moment, Fashion Market Editor Caitlan Moneta and I both agreed that we wished for someone to always place our hair to its picture-perfect position.

Ewan McGregor was dapper in a fitted suit, humbly and appreciatively walking to the beginning of the line of fans to make it worth everyone’s while. 

Dermot Mulroney was sexy in long hair. Enough said.

Juliette Lewis was her usual care-free self faux-tripping on her fitted floor length gold gown with embellished bodice. I unabashedly announce that you have to have a good butt to wear that dress. Juliette did. It hugged and caressed in the best ways that it could. Good and bad butt aside, Jessica Mulroney and I couldn’t decide, is her dress a McQueen? A Marchesa? Anyone?

And then, everything reached a fever pitch the moment Julia Roberts emerged. The smile. The charisma. The dress. She is the cat’s meow. The dog’s pajamas. 

We sipped the last of our drinks, we took chocolates to go, make that multiple overflowing handfuls for me, and together, as a little stylish family, we made our way to Roy Thomson Hall for the screening of this celebrity packed film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play. 

Julia Roberts at the premiere of August: Osage County (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Raw and honest depictions of a family in crisis, in discord, in happiness, in laughter, and in an imperfect and screwed up love had us, me, the viewers in attentive silence and hearty guffaws, sharing in their laughter, swallowing their hardships, and empathetic to their case because familial dysfunction is something we can all relate to on some level. 

The soiree’s partnership of Birks’ newest collections and this particular film seemed intimately matched. My hindsight couldn’t help but identify similar themes and stories in both the jewelry and the film. The Links collection symbolized the forever link to family, in life’s good and its bad. Return to Me was an ode to the unspoken promise and gravitational pull in a family to always return. The Butterfly collection symbolized growth and the sensitive transition from cocoon to butterfly. As a person and a family unit, we grow, we push each other to spread our wings and fly. The movie illustrates perfectly that the transition can be more difficult for some families, but pushes the message that growth is always possible.

BIRKS LINKS Collection Rings (Photo courtesy of Maison Birks)

Once the clapping subsided, the standing ovation no longer stood, and the crowds dispersed, the messes everyone unknowingly made with their popcorn became wildly apparent. It may have been the extravagant and lavish Roy Thomson Hall, but the messy nature of eating popcorn does not discriminate based on the theater. 

With my gift bag, countless chocolates, and vintage clutch in hand, I exchanged see you laters, never goodbyes, and strutted home, out of the glitz and into my bed.

Every story has an ending but not every tale ends happily. I would never be so cruel to tell you the ending of August: Osage County, but I will tell you that the story of my evening with Maison Birks was indubitably a happily ever after. Thank you ever so much to Maison Birks and team for a remarkable evening.

Lynda Castonguay from Fashion Studio Magazine & Caitlan Moneta from FASHION Magazine.
(Photo courtesy of Maison Birks)


  1. Clothes and jewellery are awesome . Nights arrangements was good.

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