Design Exchange’s ‘Rise Up’ Puts the Party on the Map

Now that was a party done properly.

Although it’s historically less buzzed about in young professional circles than events like AGO’s Massive and The Power Plant’s Power Ball, the Design Exchange’s (DX) annual party DX Intersection – this year called ‘Rise Up’ – definitely hit the mark.

It all went down on Friday night, drawing Toronto’s finest from their pre-holiday season hibernation. This meant the usual suspects on the scene, but also a slew of fashionable guests who were our parents’ age too. And yes, we hope we’re as cool as them one day.

The purpose of the party is to celebrate the intersection of all things creative.

Each year, DX also recognizes one outstanding creative Canadian with an innovative vision. Past awardees include names like Joe Mimran and Kimberley Newport Mimran, as well as Douglas Coupland. This year’s honour went to Frank Toskan, Co-founder of beloved MAC Cosmetics.

In true MAC flare, the forever-vibrant brand took over the building’s historic Trading Floor to entertain with a mid-party vogue-off. A definite highlight of the evening, it featured a battle of top (and very acrobatic) Toronto and New York voguers that reassured the crowd that this was far from a stuffy art gallery party.

Not that it wasn’t evident from just one look around.

The space was transformed by installations by Castor Design and artists Jeremy Jansen and Jesse Harris, and the #dxriseup hashtag yielded a sea of very pink photos thanks to the vibrant pink lighting, signage, and the massive bouquet of pink “balloons” that served as a centerpiece to the crowd of pretty party people below.

The Design Exchange’s latest exhibit, Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics, was open to guests for lessons in history and for Instagram opportunities alike – but don’t even think about bringing in your glass of wine.

Guest-curated by Jeanne Beker, along with seasoned DX curator Sara Nickelson, the exhibition explores how fashion mirrors society by highlighting how clothing has been used as a tool for communicating identity and political expression. Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics spans from 1960 to present day and contains over 200 works, many of which you’re sure to recognize.

With FOMO on high alert when it came to the party below, you may not have spent as much time as you would have liked to in the actual exhibit; that’s okay – it runs until January 25th.

In addition to the exhibit, there was no shortage of other photo opp-worthy material, including protest signs of all kinds, which served as perfect props.

Though Parachute Club’s Lorraine Segato won the crowd over with an energetic performance, the real highlight was a late-night dance party on the stage facilitated by the sounds of DJ Diego Armand and Bellosound.

It was Friday night, after all.


All images from: Ryan Emberley

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