On The Town With Shinan: It's all about Linda Evangelista

By Shinan Govani

“It was all about Linda Evangelista!” That’s what Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, often says when reflecting on her early years at the fashion bible.

And so it was once again the other night, when Canada's biggest contribution to the modeling world manifested at a grand event in Milan to mark the 50 th anniversary of the magazine. “Linda! Linda!” The cries went out, as she arrived in a glamorous kaftan-like ensemble, a certain George Michael “Freedom 90” video reeling silently in some people's heads. Still standing, still glamorous, Linda was alone this night in representing the conga line of “supers,” as ’90s greats like Naomi and Christy and co. are referred to now.

Inside at the party held at Piazza Castello, it was a congregation of the mighty. A wave of fashion-world stars had arrived to say ciao, paying heed to American Vogue's influential Italian sister. There were designers Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld, models like Jessica Stam and front-row fixtures, including Poppy Delevingne. Overheard from one celebrant: “Half the GDP of Italy is in this room.”

Franca, who's been editor-in-chief for 26 years – the same amount of time as her U.S. counterpart, Anna Wintour – didn't forgo this opportunity to grab some camera action with Linda. Like I said, she's always been a favourite. “Linda is like Veruschka or Twiggy,” the editor has said, pointing out the star’s chameleon tendencies, and a spread she once did for her magazine, in which Steven Meisel photographed her as both Katharine Hepburn and Sophia Loren.

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Mother-of-one Linda, by the way - clearly thinking about her milestone 50th birthday coming up in May - has some interesting thoughts on ageing these days. 50? Pfff. Bring it on! “As my father died this year,” she revealed in a recent interview, "I want to age, I want to get older, thank you very much… Because I certainly don't want the only other option."

Meanwhile:

For what was a few short minutes – but felt as long as a trip to Mars – Linda’s old pal Bryan Adams was stuck in a Winnebago. It happened last Saturday night, during the elaborate Bliss Ball held at the Fort York historic site in Toronto. After a dinner prepared by chef Mark McEwan, and lots of other bells and whistles, the various guests in the room – including Shania Twain and husband Frédéric Thiébaud – were informed that Bryan was about to step out to do a set. The stage darkened. Anticipation unfurled. Some thumbs twiddled. No sign of Mr. Everything I Do, I Do It For You!

Finally he came out and shared the tale: yes, he'd been stuck in his motor resting place, backstage. No biggie! The enduring pop star was unflappable, going on to do what was more of a mini-concert than a set. At one point, he even agreed to personally serenade two members of the audience in exchange for a further charitable donation.

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All proceeds of the evening – orchestrated by the Dilwari Foundation – went to the Patient Amenities Fund at SickKids Hospital. And, certainly, the night was not over until nearly half the room flooded the dance floor to slow-dance to the strains of Bryan’s “Summer of ’69.” Really, I can't remember the last time I'd seen so many jump to the dance floor at a charity gala! Nostalgia, clearly, works in mysterious ways.

Scene! Heard! in Toronto

•Primo primatologist Jane Goodall shared stories of gorillas and more at an exclusive bash held at eatery Campagnolo.

Elizabeth Hurley – model, actress and global ambassador for the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness campaign – will visit Toronto to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Suits stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams have been turning heads shooting exterior scenes for their hit show.

•Alan Rickman stepped out to support the Dignitas Foundation at a reception held this month at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District.

•Two Roberts for the price of one! Both Pattinson and De Niro are expected in Toronto in October, when they’re set to begin work on their new film Idol's Eye.

Photos: © Getty

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