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The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, Toronto

The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, known as the CAFAs, were handed out in Toronto on Jan. 31. The idea behind the awards, now in their second year, is to recognize and celebrate both budding talent and outstanding achievement in the Canadian fashion industry. (Think of them as the Canadian answer to the much-hyped awards given by the Council of Fashion Designers of America each year.) Fashion darling Sid Neigum received the award sponsored by Swarovski for emerging talent in fashion for his work, spotted that evening on the backs of lawyer Anjli Patel and Toronto Fashion Incubator executive director Susan Langdon, while the sibling design duo Chloe and Parris Gordon of the label Beaufille won the prize for accessories in the emerging talent category. Gen-next winners receive $10,000, priceless mentorships from industry leaders including Marketspace founder Amir El-Nesr, PR maven Natasha Koifman and accessories designers (and previous CAFA winners) Byron and Dexter Peart and a lookbook created by The Collections, a Torontobased visual consulting firm founded by Dwayne Kennedy, Mel Ashcroft and Brian A. Richards. Suzanne Rogers, wearing an off the shoulder Greta Constantine gown, presented the award for outstanding achievement to Montreal-based fashion veteran Marie Saint-Pierre, while Sylvia Mantella presented the big award of the evening – women’swear designer of the year – to her friend and frequent style collaborator Mikael Kale.

Joe Zee, the Toronto-raised editor-in-chief of Yahoo Style, wore Frank & Oak while playing gala host; he was also presented with the Vanguard Award by last year’s recipient, Jeanne Beker, for his highly regarded publishing work, including stints at Elle and W Magazine. Philippe Dubuc, who dressed stylist and TV personality Brad Goreski for the ocasion, took home the award for outstanding achievement in men’s wear, while Genevieve Borne presented shoe designer and fellow Montrealer Jerome C. Rousseau with the award for accessories designer of the year. Additional recipients of 2015 CAFAs include former blogger Tommy Ton, stylist Zeina Esmail, model Anaïs Pouliot and expat fashion star Erdem Moralioglu. Among the 600 attendees were Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel (one of a handful of fashion rebels in non-Canadian designs), B.C.-based TV personalities Kim Appelt and Mary Zilba, Alberta-born model Heather Marks (wearing nominated designer and fellow Albertan Malorie Urbanovitch), media mogul Paul Godfrey and wife Gina, Roots co-founders and 2015 honourary co-chairs Michael Budman and Don Green, ballet dancer Evan McKie, actress Sarah Gadon, photographer Caitlin Cronenberg, socialite Jenna Bitove (in a scene-stealing red-lace ball gown) and CAFA organizers Vicky Milner and Brittney Kuczynski.

From left, model Heather Marks in Malorie Urbanovitch with the designer. (Photos by George Pimentel)

Jenna Bitove in Mikael D.

From left, models Yasmine Warsame and Coco Rocha.

From left, CAFA managing director Vicky Milner and CAFA co-founder Brittney Kuczynski

Suzanne Rogers in Greta Constantine with the label’s designers, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong.

From left, Caitlin Cronenberg and Sarah Gadon wearing Erdem.

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