NKPR rolled out the red carpet on the IT Lounge Portrait Studio Thursday morning as part of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), giving a select list of brands access to some of the industry’s biggest celebrities.
While the scene is relatively quiet and calm outside the Lounge, which is housed within NKPR’s rather large office space at Adelaide and John, the red carpet, red velvet rope and two large guards signal that something fun, fabulous and exclusive lies beyond the glass doors.
Inside is a flutter of activity as fashion bloggers and other members of the media move from station to station engaging with the brands that have been chosen to participate in this year’s IT Lounge, now in its seventh year. The celebs, which are starting to arrive in Toronto, will soon follow.
Participating in this year’s invite-only lounge are fashion retailer RW&Co., Grain Farmers of Ontario and Great Lakes Biodiesel, Lia Sophia, Tweezerman, STiKS Gaming, AquaHydrate, Skyy Vodka, BottleGreen, Rdio and Yogurty’s.
To keep things fresh and ever evolving, NKPR founder and president Natasha Koifman wanted to try something different with this year’s lounge, which is why she brought in famed photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who will be on hand to snap portraits Sept. 8.
“We took our love of fashion and we took our love of photography and we married them together and came up with the portrait studio idea… You look at Patrick Demarchelier who is a huge fashion icon so to have him in here I think is a real treat for brands,” said Koifman.
Well-known photographers Dustin Rabin and Caitlin Cronenberg will also make appearances during the three-day IT Lounge event.
Jewellery company Lia Sophia is using the IT Lounge and TIFF to unveil its latest Red Carpet Collection.
Koifman is also looking for ways to tell great stories with the participating brands. Part of that story include the Grain Farmers of Ontario and Great Lakes Biodiesel, which set up a “refueling station” complete with healthy snacks made with Ontario grains. The space is outfitted with a shag carpet made out of corn sugar and a beanbag chair filled with corn kernels.
As is custom, IT Lounge also includes charitable components. Earlier this year, NKPR created an online candy boutique called “Kandy with a K” that supports a list of charities including Artists for Peace and Justice, At My Best, Big Borthers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Camp Ochigeas and Paws for the Cause. Money will be donated to each for every celeb that sits for a portrait.
Also, members of the gaming community can bid to play online against a celebrity that visits the gaming area powered by STiKS. All proceeds benefit Artists for Peace and Justice.
Though Koifman has worked with other major film festivals in the past including Cannes and Tribeca, she holds TIFF in high regard.
“It’s our home. It’s in our backyard. I love Toronto. I love the city. It’s the second largest film festival in the world. More deals get done in Toronto than any other festival,” she said.
The 10-day festival brings together the top actors, directors and cinematographers from around the globe. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Affleck, Penelope Cruz, and Keira Knightley are among the stars expected to make appearances at TIFF ‘12.
Videography by Pam Lau