Inside Paul Hardy’s 10th Anniversary party in Calgary: The who’s who of the Canadian fashion industry celebrated one of its finest designers in style

Paul Hardy Anniversary Event Calgary
Paul Hardy Anniversary Event Calgary
Photography by Phil Crozier

See the Paul Hardy 10th anniversary party photos »

Party Hardy! Finally—I’ve been waiting to say that ever since FASHION received an invite to Canadian design star Paul Hardy’s 10th anniversary bash in Calgary on Saturday. It was an exclusive guest list, after all, (including Dragon’s Den billionaire W. Brett Wilson and his date, the Real Housewives of Vancouver’s Mary Zilba as well as Vancouver’s blonde and bubbly country singing sisters, Carly and Britt McKillip of One More Girl), and might have been the biggest, brightest, boldest birthday party to ever hit the Alberta fashion scene.

Mr. Hardy, Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta flew in fashion’s top editors, bloggers and VIP’s from Vancouver to Toronto, including the Globe & Mail’s Tiyana Grulovic, Hello! Canada’s Tara Henley, FASHION’s resident street style photographer Stefania Yarhi, and Style Panel’s Gracie Carroll. After waking up in the swanky Hyatt Regency Calgary and chic-boutique Hotel Arts, the first snowfall of the season made our trek to the island River Café feel like some kind of wonderland—or as Hardy perfectly positioned it, “Narnia”.

From prairie roots to international runways, Hardy thanked everyone who’d helped him reach the 10-year milestone, like his grade 7 teacher (who was in attendance), interns, stylists, and celebrities Bette Midler, Sarah McLachlan, Diane Kruger, Alanis Morrisette and Chantal Kreviazuk. The brunch was over-the-top delish, with hot apple cider, champagne, and four gourmet courses.

But the big Hardy party didn’t start until 6 p.m., when we were shuttled over to the designer’s brand new Inglewood studio and walked a red-turned fluffy white carpet before cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, a whopping 45-minute fashion show, and a lively afterparty that seemed to have an endless supply of rouge.

Amidst bejeweled chandeliers and rustic furnishings, famed country singer Paul Brandt, Greg Sczebel and the Calgary Philharmonic Ensemble performed a song for each segment of Hardy’s intimate Spring ’13 show, called “Breaking Amish” (there were eight “chapters” in the collection and a grand total of 60 looks). The designs followed the evolution of a plain, nameless girl who, wrestling with the confines of her reverent traditional environment, emerges in glittered couture with blissful illusions of the big city she visits (I’d like to read this as Hardy’s own journey through the fashion industry). Eventually, she accepts her flawed humanity and is softened—in flowing, light pink and to-die-for nude gowns—by embracing who she is, and understanding that her circumstances are not what define her.

But we’re pretty sure that the night’s circumstances were the definition of success: Paul Hardy is one of the most iconic Canadian fashion figures of this generation.