Last evening at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto, the glitzy Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards gala celebrated the best of Canadian fashion. Accolades were handed out in categories such as best emerging designer, accessory designer, womenswear designer, and menswear designer—all focused on recognizing innovative Canadian-grown talent. In addition to fashion design, broader industry roles were acknowledged as well, including the country’s best stylist, hair and makeup artist, photographer, model, and more.
At the soirée were buzzy presenters and nominees such as model Coco Rocha; design duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of Viktor & Rolf; designer Aurora James; actress Sarah Gadon; makeup artist Hung Vanngo; Instagram stars Fecal Matter; and Coast Salish jewelry designer Warren Steven Scott. Most showed up in Canadian designs, wearing either their own labels or supporting fellow brands that were nominated that evening.
Special one-off awards were also given to Canadian trailblazers who have paved their own international paths. Portrait photographer Douglas Kirkland, for instance, whose prolific celebrity roster includes icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, received the outstanding achievement award. “As a boy raised in the small town of Fort Erie, I never imagined I would find myself being honored tonight,” he told the crowd. “It means all the more to me because it is in my native Canada.”
Meanwhile, James—a onetime CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner and founder of Brother Vellies, her accessories brand that employs artists in Africa—accepted the award for international designer of the year. “Having traveled all over the world for Brother Vellies, I can now safely say there is nothing like the feeling of coming home,” she said of being back in Toronto. “I would not have the cultural awareness and commitment to diversity if it weren’t for my upbringing in Canada.”
As the evening progressed and nominees took to the stage to collect their prizes, guests dined on smoked steelhead and beef strip loin while the wine was poured generously and frequently. They were also treated to a brief performance by the chic Montreal-based singer Charlotte Cardin. Meanwhile, off in a side room, one could get their professional portrait taken by George Pimentel, one of Toronto’s best-known events photographers.
After the ceremony guests then moved on over to the official after-party, which was also held in the hotel in a ballroom across the hall. There, an open bar and DJ kept the Canuck festivities going all night long.