Saks Fifth Avenue’s Roopal Patel shares her predictions on the hottest TIFF red carpet style and fall fashion trends

By Kathryn Kyte

With the Toronto International Film Festival less than a month away, it’s only fitting to know what celebrities are going to be donning as they grace Toronto’s streets this fall.

On Aug. 20, Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director Roopal Patel hosted an evening in which she highlighted the season’s coming trends and what we’ll see on and off the red carpet.

Roopal sported Cult Gaia shoes and a camel pant suit from Bottega Veneta, which hinted at the “new neutral” trend (more on that later). Refreshingly, she also said fashion is still about fashion, not about what looks good on Instagram.

Hello! Canada sat down with Roopal ahead of the event, and we discussed the styles for fall and moments that have stuck this year, along with her admiration for Céline Dion.

Every September, Toronto is bustling with celebrities and cinephiles, often looking to make a statement. While the year and its fashions may change, too, Roopal said a consistent approach to dress is that “everybody’s looking to have something very unique, very custom and very special.”

A huge crowd came to see Roopal at the event on Aug. 20. Photo: © Saks Fifth Avenue

This year is really about sprucing it up, Roopal said. Expect dresses, gowns and elevated looks that embrace the art of getting dressed-up aplenty. It’s about that final edit. Roopal pointed to designers like Brandon Maxwell (who just won the CFDA Award), Carolina Herrera, Joseph Altuarra and Daniel Lee as names to help us get there.

“We’re talking about fall, so it’s about change, but there are no hard or fast rules as long as you feel good,” Roopal said. “I’m a firm believer that for the evening it is about being dressed head-to-toe. It’s not about being rushed, it’s about taking your time and getting ready for the red carpet or for black tie galas. There’s something really beautiful about that.”

PHOTOS: Every stylish star on the red carpet at TIFF 2018

Roopal said she doesn’t have a mirror at home and told Hello! Canada her only rule is if she puts something on and it doesn’t feel good, she won’t wear it, right away. She said there’s no hestitation with this benchmark.

“That’s my thing. I see some women force themselves into a look, but if I look at something and think ‘ugh’ then I take it off,” she said. “If you don’t feel good it doesn’t matter. Fashion shouldn’t be complicated; it should get down to a point that you just trust yourself enough.”

Whether it is the shifted colour palette and new neutrals like tan, camel, beige and brown, or gold jewellery, which is not just for the evening but also for daytime, Roopal said fall is about a luxe approach to fashion.

At its recent fall and winter fashions showcase, Fendi brought out lots of tan, camel, beige and brown styles. Photo: © Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

“Camel makes things look more expensive,” she said. “Designers always send black, navy and grey down the runway, but now you’re seeing a really refreshing play of neutrality. It’s warm and it’s a cleansing palette as we go into fall.”

She also said scarf prints such as a scarf-type blouse or a “scarf print literal” and capes are big this season. And for those that idle the sneakers, Roopal said combat boots are more in, but that doesn’t mean toss the sneakers away.

“Now that women know they can wear sneakers they are never going to stop,” she joked. “However, I think there is a shift taking place. We are being encouraged to get dressed up.

“That was one thing of the casualization of fashion for the last few seasons—it [dressing up] was not as present and relevant within the fall runways. I think sneakers are still there, but I think it’s a little bit more specific this year, like are you wearing a combat boot instead? A Chelsea boot?”

Who could forget Céline’s incredible Met Gala look? Photo: © Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

One of Roopal’s favourite looks this year came from the goddess who is Céline, who stunned at the Met Gala with her eccentric Oscar de la Renta ensemble. You remember.

“It was a ‘wow’ moment,” Roopal gushed about the look. “What Fernando [Garcia] and Laura [Kim] did with her at the Met Gala, well, you just felt good when you saw her.”

Other than gawking at Céline, Roopal said she is constantly skimming the looks in music, politics, film. This naturally includes what Beyoncé and Rihanna are wearing because “they both are always taking chances with their wardrobe” for inspiration.

“I recently met Lucy Boynton, we did an event with her, and I love what she wore to the Met Gala,” she said of the Bohemian Rhapsody star. “She had eyelashes painted on and feathers in her hair as well as gorgeous, unique jewellery. There was so much thought from head-to-toe, and I love that she went there. She didn’t just wear the dress, she really put the whole look on.”

Lucy’s Met Gala look was part camp, part glam, part dream! Photo: © Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The fashion director said other must-have items to snap up include anything leather – and not just jackets, friends.

“Leather skirts, shirts, pants - I’ve been living in this Givenchy leather skirt all summer,” Roopal added.

Also, handbags never go out of style and Roopal suggested a camel-toned addition to your collection. And for those that are looking to add some sexy zest to the wardrobe, Roopal pointed to the high-shaft boot because it is “hot” and said to look for colours like burgandy, cognac and hunter green.

Both Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan have tried to spotlight and wear fashions by major designers as well as up-and-comers and eco brands. Photo: © Getty Images

During the event, Roopal also talked about the impact the Royal Family has had on fashion.

“I believe [Kate and Meghan] have contributed significantly to the growth and expansion of the many designers that they have supported, which is helping enrich workers,” she said. “I think these days we all need a little help to boost sales.”

“I applaud them for helping support designers on the rise,” she continued. “I support anyone that is helping people that we don’t see, too, so workers in production, in the factories, the people that are making the fashion and dream come alive.”

Roopal said she is a firm believer of rotating the wardrobe and tossing things out, but two items that she will forever keep are her first pair of Manolo Blahniks, which she was too embarrassed to say she couldn’t afford, and her first Chanel jacket because... it’s Chanel. Roopal said it screamed “you’ve made it in fashion, now you are legit.”

As for what looks good on social media?

“I don’t wear fashion for Instagram. I wear fashion because that’s what I do for a living,” Roopal said to the audience with a smile.

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