On the Town with Shinan: Shopping the Design Exchange with feline fan Nicky Hilton

By Shinan Govani

photo: Ryan Emberley

Curiosity did not kill Nicky Hilton’s obsession with cats, the other night on Bay Street.

Making an appearance at the Design Exchange, in Toronto, for the opening of the new POLITICS OF FASHION/FASHION OF POLITICS exhibit, the hotel heiress meandered past the Miyake, wandered by the Westwood… but, then, quite nearly lost her mind at the gift shop downstairs. She “cleaned them out,” as one observer sums up her spree at the Magic Pony boutique that sits in the lobby. Her jam, in particular? Anything and everything “cat-related.” (Oh, and she bought some socks.)

Nicky – in town promoting her new book, Style 365 – has never been shy about her kitty obsession. She has two at home – including a stray that she found, meowing, a couple years back near the Soho House in Miami, and that she decided to make her own. (Back at the Fountainbleu Hotel, that cat was ordered a tuna feast by her new owner and famously flown back, later, in a private plane that Nicky was on with Kanye West, and others.)

A good place to social-claw: this 700-person-deep party at the DX. The fascinating new exhibit – guest-curated by Jeanne Beker – drew out a crowd that included MAC co-founder Frank Toscan and perennials like Lady Barbara Black.

Read More: See photos from the Design Exchange party in Amoryn’s Diary of the Week

And besides flaunting her feline cred, it was also an A-OK spot for the actually quite charming Nicky to show off her new engagement ring, courtesy of fiancé James Rothschild, heir of the British banking clan. Said to be 6-8 carats, and a real sparkler, I got a good look when I joined her for a drink the night before, at Colette Grand Café on Wellington. It was a fun time, and I really got a sense of how, in some ways, she’s always been the shrewder of the two Hilton Sisters. She also gave me some lowdown. (Want more? Read about our conversation in my ‘Last Word’ column in next week’s issue of Hello! Canada magazine!)

Meanwhile:

“Doughy”: that’s Dan Stevens’ word for the somewhat more round appearance he struck as Matthew Crawley (R.I.P.) on Downton Abbey, but which has been nixed in favour of a pared-down look. One that he showed off and talked about while passing through Toronto, as the Film Fest was waning. In town, on the last night of TIFF, to tah-dah his thriller, The Guest – in which he shows off his Calvin Klein ad-ready abs more than once. And he’s open about the work he did to get there. Circuit training. Weights. Martial Arts. Cutting out beer.

Landing at Brassaii, on King Street, for a cast dinner that night, Dan made the scene as mini crab cakes and “Lollipop Fried Chicken” made the rounds. No doubt, he ate judiciously.

And also:

Lady Gaga’s favourite milliner, the hat-mad Philip Treacy, is said to be one of the guests expected at the opening of the Fashion Blows exhibition, hitting The Room at Hudson’s Bay next month in Toronto. The show – the first such international stop, since its debut at Somerset House, in London – is a style encapsulation of the late, great self-invention, Isabella Blow. To mark the event, a fundraising dinner is being held on Oct. 22, co-hosted by that international icon in her own, Daphne Guinness, and Liz Rodbell, president of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor.

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