4 Stylish Looks From Philanthropist Kate Alexander Daniels

Photography by Chris Chapman

We look at a Toronto philanthropist’s artful life.

Kate Alexander Daniels’ Toronto home features an enviable gallery of contemporary art by the likes of Irving Penn and Douglas Coupland. But also prominently displayed are three pieces of artwork—one by her 11-year-old son, one by her 13-year-old daughter and another by her husband’s grandmother—which fit right in with the more celebrated works. This says a lot about Daniels’ unpretentious approach.

She sports this humour and irreverence with her wardrobe—an eclectic mix of labels like Balmain and YSL, vintage pieces and cheap-and-cheerful finds. “Fashion and art are visceral things. How I feel and my response to it is what guides me,” she says of her approach to art and style. “I’m not grounded by someone saying, ‘You must have this.'”

She juggles family life with husband David Daniels, an arts and entertainment force in the city, while running her strategic communications and production company. Daniels also supports a lengthy list of causes, including the Canadian Film Centre, the 519 Community Centre and Artists for Peace and Justice, of which she says, “I don’t just lend my name. I roll my sleeves up.”

For the past five years, one celebrated event that has benefited from Daniels’ sparkling energy is the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala in Ottawa, which she co-chairs. The star-studded affair, held at the National Arts Centre, fêtes Canadian performing artists from various disciplines who have been bestowed with the prestigious national honour. With 2017 marking the Gala’s 25th anniversary, as well as Canada’s 150th birthday, the bar is set even higher, as is only fitting. “Their life’s work has given this country a global platform,” she says.

And Daniels’ own reasons for her philanthropy? “Good gets good. You have to pay it forward.”

Click through for some of Daniels’ wardrobe.

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1. Tuxedo gown, Balmain; shoes, Yves Saint Laurent

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2. Lipstick print dress and suede boots, both Yves Saint Laurent

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3. Dress, Roksanda Ilincic; shoes, Yves Saint Laurent

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4. Leather jacket, Kenzo; jeans, Rag & Bone; shoes, Yves Saint Laurent

A version of this article appears in the March 2017 issue with the headline, “Powerhouse,” p. 46-47.