CAFA ceremony celebrates Canadian fashion's fresh faces and veterans

At this year's Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards in Toronto last night, wins from Tasha Tilberg, Krow Kian and Aurora James showcase how the design landscape is changing.

Designer Aurora James, photographer Douglas Kirkland and Thierry-Maxime Loriot honoured at arts-fashion awards

Coco Rocha poses at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards' 2019 ceremony. Designers, influencers and up-and-coming talent attended Thursday night to celebrate the best in Canadian fashion. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Just a few blocks from where the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors last night, a few other Canadians were enjoying a home-court advantage. 

Designers, social media influencers, photographers and fashion industry leaders gathered for the annual Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards in Toronto on Thursday night to celebrate successes in the world of art and design. 

This year, the ceremony honoured a number of recipients who challenge conventional standards of fashion and beauty, and address issues outside the fashion world.

Designers Sid Neigum and Aurora James, British Columbia models Krow Kian and Tasha Tilberg, and labels Mackage and Matt & Nat were among the winners celebrated.

Canadian model Tasha Tilberg strikes a pose at the 2019 CAFA celebration. Tilberg was named Model of the Year, cementing a comeback decades in the making. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Tilberg, once extremely popular as a model in the 1990s, won Model of the Year, 26 years after the start of her career. Kian, now one of the world's most sought-after transgender models, has worked for Louis Vuitton in both the men's and women's lines. He was named CAFA's Fresh Face of the Year.

"There is definitley a lack of trans-male models," said Kian. "So to be representing people from all around the world and from the trans community has been just amazing to be ... that role model for people."

Krow Kian worked as a female model for six years before transitioning, and returning to the industry as a male model. 'It's been so much success and so much positivity and I just love it.' (Paul Smith/CBC)

Toronto-born James, founder of the sustainability-minded footwear and accessories line Brother Vellies, was honoured as International Canadian Designer, an award that celebrates a Canadian achieving success on the world stage. Brother Vellies attempts to sustain the craft of shoemaking in Africa by creating such jobs in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco.

Aurora James said she started Brother Vellies due to problems she saw around the world. 'We need to use fashion as vehicle to empower people ... I knew that fundamentally in people's core there was going to be an interest for it.' (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Montreal-based Hannah Rose Dalton and Steven Raj Bhaskaran, who run the popular Instagram account Fecal Matter, were given the Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year Award. Using makeup and prosthetics, the two designers create inventive and sometimes shocking images to a follower base of nearly 500,000.

Steven Raj Bhaskaran, left, and Hannah Rose Dalton, of fashion account Fecal Matter, won the Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year Award. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Other winners include Quebec's Thierry-Maxime Loriot, presented with the Vanguard Award by fashion designers Viktor & Rolf "in recognition of his significant contributions to the creative community." 

Loriot is the former model-turned-curator behind the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' blockbuster fashion exhibitions, including the recent Thierry Mugler: Couturissime and 2011's The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier, which toured to museums around the world for five years. 

Thierry-Maxime Loriot, centre, stands with fashion designers Viktor & Rolf. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Also recognized was photographer Douglas Kirkland, known for his images of celebrities from Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol and Brigitte Bardot, to Audrey Hepburn, Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio. CAFA organizers recognized the Fort Erie, Ont.-born Kirkland's career with its award for outstanding achievement.

"I love it and I still work. I'm in my mid-80's," said Kirkland, "and I'm still working every day and enjoying it."

Photographer Douglas Kirkland was recognized with an outstanding achievement award. Born in Canada, Kirkland has worked with such subjects as Marilyn Monroe, Angelina Jolie, and Leonardo DiCaprio. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Neigum scooped up two prizes Thursday: Womenswear Designer of the Year and the Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant for International Development, which comes with $20,000. The Alberta-born, Toronto-based artist is a past winner of CAFA's emerging designer honour. 

Singer, actress and designer Vanessa Williams, right, with Ron White of Ron White Shoes. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Past CAFA winners have included designers Erdem Moralioglu, Joe Mimran, Jason Wu, Dean and Dan Caten, labels such as Greta Constantine and Beaufille, and model Coco Rocha. 

YouTube vlogger, actress and model Gigi Gorgeous attended CAFA to present nominee Cary Tauben with the Stylist of the Year Award. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)
Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, left, with James on the red carpet. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)
Rocha, a veteran of Canadian modelling, won Model of the Year at CAFA's inaugural 2014 ceremony. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)
Vancouver-born Christopher Bates was awarded Menswear Designer of the Year for his eponymous Christopher Bates brand. (Jackson Weaver/CBC)

Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards — 2019 winners

  • Womenswear Designer of the Year: Sid Neigum.
  • Menswear Designer of the Year:: Christopher Bates.
  • Emerging talent, fashion: Marie-Ève Lecavalier.
  • Emerging talent, accessories: Corey Moranis.
  • Accessory Designer of the Year: Dean Davidson.
  • Outerwear Brand of the Year: Mackage.
  • Fashion Innovation Award: Focals by North.
  • Fashion Design Student Award: Marie-Eve Aubry.
  • Imagemaker of the Year: Max Abadian.
  • Stylist of the Year: Cary Tauben.
  • Fresh Face (emerging model) of the Year: Krow Kian.
  • Model of the Year: Tasha Tilberg.
  • Fashion Impact Award: Matt & Nat.
  • Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year: Fecal Matter.
  • Sustainability Award: KOTN.
  • Makeup Artist of the Year: Hung Vanngo.
  • Hair Artist of the Year: Harry Josh.

With files from Jessica Wong and Tashauna Reid


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