Canadian Fashion House Party

This past weekend brought the inaugural Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) to life at the Fairmont Royal York. The official raison d’être, “CAFA was created to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion design.” 

But this was not just another awards show. This was the first time the fashion industry gathered to honour the best in our country. I repeat, the first time. As a member of the official nominating committee, I am proud to have been a part of the process.  Unlike the music, literary, stage and screen industries, Canada’s fashion world – until now – didn’t have an event to crown its own for their outstanding talents.  Only time will tell if receiving a CAFA has a positive impact on one’s career. Until it does, we’re just shouting in a bubble. And since it’s our first bubble, I vote we get dressed up and have a party. And party we did! 

But wait!  What every black tie gala in Canada needs is a snowstorm, right?  I love that Canadians are such a hearty bunch. By the outfits you would never know we all left our boots at coat check. 

Coco Rocha, Lisa Tant and me

Arriving at the gala, I was soon accosted by four young fashion design students who were volunteering for the event. “We love your dress,” they exclaimed in unison. “It’s a Jay Godfrey,” I responded. “Do you know him?” Blank stares. “Consider this your first lesson, ladies, look him up.” 

Welcome to the underground world of Canadian fashion!

I love Jay Godfrey‘s designs. His sizing is consistently perfect, I don’t even require a fitting.  In fact, I rented the dress from Rent frock Repeat for that very reason. (Although locals can schedule in person fittings.) I wanted something new without plunking down a few hundred for a dress I would likely wear once.

The CAFAs did a fine job of getting some big names out for the first annual event — Dean and Dan from DSquared2, Coco Rocha, Joe Mimran and Jeanne Beker, who took home the 2014 Vanguard Award. Ten awards were given out for excellence in fashion, styling and image maker categories: 

Womenswear Designer of the Year Award – Jeremy Laing

Menswear Designer of the Year Award – Travis Taddeo

Emerging Talent Award – Sarah Stevenson

Outstanding Achievement Award – DSquared2

Accessory Designer of the Year Award – Want Les Essentials de la Vie

Canadian Style Award – Joe Mimran

Image Maker Award – Chris Nicholls

International Canadian Designer of the Year Award – DSquared2

Stylist of the Year Award – George Antonopoulos

Model of the Year Award – Coco Rocha

Truthfully, only Sarah Stevenson stands to benefit from her award, with a $10,000 prize, a spring/summer ’15 lookbook and mentorship from Joe Mimran, this year’s Honorary Chair.  I’ve had my eye on her since her humble design beginnings a few years back.  As a Canadian she’s still humble, but with the right direction this young talent could follow in the footsteps of fellow Canadian, Erdem Moralioglu or Mary Katrantzou.
Sarah Stevenson Fall Winter 2013

Stylelab a Screen Awards Success

 You don’t have to work in fashion to agree that the red carpet is usually more fun than the awards show. And while last week’s inaugural Canadian Screen Awards may not have the same level of glitz and glamour as the Globes or Oscars yet, we are a talented bunch and damn it, we ought to look good too.

Global TV’s Rosey Edeh – outfitted by Stylelab – on the red carpet

That was my thinking behind launching Stylelab, where Screen Awards nominees could rent applause-worthy apparel and accessories for their big night. (Because really, how often are you going to wear that dress again, ladies?) Stylelab made red carpet fashion accessible for men and women with apparel and accessories from Rent Frock Repeat, MMCrystal Jewelry, Off the Cuff Resale Designer Menswear, Cuffwear and Kara Ross.

Guests could relax in our lounge area provided by Andrew Richard Designs and enjoy refreshments courtesy of tabl’eau filtered water. Tabl’eau is a new Canadian company whose philosophy “how far should your water travel?” is simple and yet so revolutionary. (Perhaps that’s why it’s the water of choice for Toronto’s Soho House, among other top venues.) Their sparkling water mixed with Monin flavorings gave everyone a little pep in their step. And might I add, it would be perfect for lounging on the patio come summertime!

Stylelab had something to offer everyone whether they needed a full outfit or just a little icing. This is the part of the business I love most – making people feel great. It was a fantastically fun two days, especially when eTalk and Oh So Cosmo stopped by to shoot the action. 
Rent Frock Repeat with eTalk
Off the Cuff Resale Designer Menswear on eTalk

#Stylelab Introduces High Style, Low Commitment

In the post-Oscars chatter of best and worst dressed, we often fail to mention that red carpet style usually comes care of a Hollywood stylist. But what if you don’t have a stylist, and you still want – dare we say NEED – to look amazing on your big awards night?

This is the conundrum most people in the industry face. They’re not big name celebrities with designers and diamond makers fawning over them. But, they make the television and film worlds go ’round, and without them there would be no awards show at all.

I have this group in mind when I launch #Stylelab this week for the nominees of our first ever Canadian Screen Awards. Over two days we will outfit nominees in gowns, dresses, suits, jackets, jewelry and accessories from these amazing brands:

Rent Frock Repeat
Off the Cuff Resale Designer Menswear
MMCrystal Jewelry
Kara Ross

It’s an approach I call “high style, low commitment”. All items in the lounge will be available for rent at a fraction of the retail cost. Returning an item is, in most cases, as easy as dropping a bag into a mailbox. Decide to keep it? Everything is available for purchase too. Andrew Richard Designs and tabl’eau filtered water will make the lounge a comfy place to hang, so RSVP today!