On the Town with Shinan: Lena Dunham's "Mr. Right Now" and Isabella's blowout

By Shinan Govani

Lena with stylist Erin Kleinberg (Photo: Instagram)

How ravenous were they for Lena Dunham in Toronto the other night?

So ravenous that when there was an overflow in the Appel Salon – where she'd appeared to talk about her book – some of the women (and they were 99.9% women) happily shuffled their way to the atrium next door to watch a live stream of her doing her thing. “At least we're near her,” a glass-half-full preppy was heard to say.

In town to speak about her new book, Not That Kind of Girl, at the Toronto Public Library-arranged event, Lena was also debuting her new, one-day-old 'do. It may not be easy being green, as Kermit has often vexed, but it seemed to be just groovy for this “voice of a generation.” (Earlier, during a stop here at The Social, the Girls star/writer/director admitted that she didn't know how long her Christmas-green flap was going to last, but it's “Mr. Right Now.” She also footnoted that her punky locks had led to an “increased sense of skepticism” when trying to get across the border!)

So, the talk. She shared some touching remembrances about her great, late friend, writer Nora Ephron. (I could have listened to her talk about Nora all night.) She had them in stitches talking about her challenges with hip-hop dancing, and was genuinely moving when talking about mental illness. She had a good answer, when asked by interlocutor Joanna Schneller, about how she first realized she was a comedienne: “I was writing things that I though were serious, and people kept laughing.”

All along, she did the thing that she's become adept at, from my perspective - “self-mythologizing.” The illusion of over-sharing, while not really letting people into the real Lena at all.

But I digress! During the reading of the book, from a chapter called 'Platonic Bed-Sharing,' the usually all-all-out-there Lena did skip a particularly graphic part - for one very good reason. “My dad is here,” she quipped, and “I have standards.”


Daphne Guinness and Philip Treacy (Photo: Getty)

A-list milliner Philip Treacy had a good chuckle when the subject of his infamous Princess Beatrice hat, from Prince William and Kate's wedding, came up, the other night at a gala held at The Room in Toronto. Though the headpiece was mercilessly mocked at the time – dubbed 'The Bagle' on social media – it seems like he and Beatrice had the last laugh. It was later auctioned off, for charity, to the tune of £81,000.

Philip, who made some 36 hats for the Royal Wedding alone, was here with quixotic heiress Daphne Guinness to help inaugurate the North American arrival of a fashion exhibition devoted to the late, great style icon, Isabella Blow. “She's part of my design psyche. She's part of me,” he later told a rapt room, during the dinner held to mark the function, and where socialites like Sylvia Mantella had come dressed to the inevitable nines, and others like fashion impresario Nicholas Mellamphy donned a turban. It ain't over until Chaka Khan sings – and, there she was, the funk icon herself, to do a mini-concert for the intimate crowd, right in middle of the Hudson's Bay space on Queen Street. Her crowing glory – one that even had model Yasmin Le Bon dancing madly? Her classic rendition of "I'm Every Woman." Whoa, whoa, whoa.


Alain Ducasse (Photo: Getty)

It was a chef-splosion, alright, when the Michelin-dripping chef Alain Ducasse – a French icon – came to visit Mario Batali at a special dinner he was cooking up, here at Buca on King Street last week. The two cooking pros – both of whom happened to be in Toronto at the same time - had a nice visit.

Mario – here collaborating with local chef Rob Gentile at a VIP dinner organized by TD Visa – was in his regular orange crocs. Naturally. And, speaking to the crowd, he revealed that he cooks dinner at home at least three times a week for his family. And his wife – well, she only gets into the kitchen once a year. She bakes a cake for his birthday: an “orange sunshine cake.”

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