6th Annual CAFA Gala @ Fairmont Royal York Hotel, May 30, 2019

By A.J. Lam.

Special Honours were bestowed upon THIERRY-MAXIME LORIOT, DOUGLAS KIRKLAND, AND AURORA JAMES at the 6TH ANNUAL CANADIAN ARTS & FASHION AWARDS GALA, aka the Canadian fashion Oscars,  on May 30, 2019, at the landmark Fairmont Royal York Hotel.   Annually, the ultra-stylish CAFA Gala brings together top national and international fashion luminaries to celebrate the fashion industry in Canada.

World famous fashion artists Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of Viktor&Rolf, the avant-garde luxury fashion house founded in 1993, presented the 2019 Vanguard Award to Thierry-Maxime Loriot for his significant contributions to the creative community via his work as a curator and creative director after his modelling career with some of the world’s most celebrated designers and photographers.

Thierry-Maxime Loriot said, “I am honoured to be recognized for creating a bridge between the arts and fashion worlds. It is very much inspiring and motivating to keep going and to look ahead to create many more projects from here. To be amongst other Canadian talents that I truly admire – for their creativity, their perseverance and their originality – reminds me how important the work of CAFA is, by bringing awareness and offering an essential platform to these talents that need to be known to a broader audience. We need to support our local talents that make us proud and elevate them.”

Catherine Martin, Homeware Designer, Costume|Production|Set Designer, Producer, and Academy Award Winner, presented renowned celebrity photographer Douglas Kirkland, originally from Fort Erie, with the 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award, acknowledging his famous photographs of Hollywood icons such as Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, and Andy Warhol.  Some of Douglas Kirkland’s iconic photographs can be viewed at the Izzy Gallery in Toronto’s Yorkville area.
Douglas Kirkland stated that “This award from CAFA is especially close to my heart. Coming from my native country Canada, this means the world to me. I never thought when I was growing up in Fort Erie that I would be honoured this way.”

The International Canadian Designer Award, which pays tribute to a Canadian designer who has achieved international success and has brought attention to Canadian talent on the world stage. was presented to Aurora James, now based in Brooklyn, founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, a line of footwear and accessories handcrafted in Africa and designed with the goal of preserving the shoemaking craft in Africa.
Aurora James:  “I am incredibly humbled and honoured to receive such an incredible award from my home. Brother Vellies is the truest expression of what it means to be a Canadian artist – appreciating culture, craftsmanship, vitality and the love of helping others. My business and I could never have existed without the cultural infrastructure I was raised with in this wonderful Country.”

Suzanne Rogers, Toronto’s most prominent philanthropist and fashionista, presented Sid Neigum with the second annual Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant for International Development. The $20,000 grant, as decided by a panel comprised of Suzanne Rogers,  fashion strategist Suzanne Timmins and designer Todd Lynn,  honours an outstanding Canadian fashion designer or brand that has demonstrated significant impact, growth, and maturity, and is poised to expand internationally, so that as Suzanne Rogers stated the designer “can continue to showcase and elevate his brand on the world stage.  It is so important to support and grow our Canadian talent as they continue to pave inroads within the industry,”


  • The Womenswear Designer of the Year Award was presented to Sid Neigum by Canadian Supermodel Coco Rocha and philanthropist and fashionista Sylvia Mantella. 
  • The Menswear Designer of the Year Award was presented to Christopher Bates by Roy Woods.
  • The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion, presented to an innovative Canadian designer who is emerging as a true creative force in Canadian fashion, was awarded to Marie-Ève Lecavalier.
  • The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories, presented to an innovative Canadian designer who is emerging as a true creative force in Canadian fashion accessory design, was awarded to Corey Moranis. 
  • Recipients of the Emerging Talent Awards, in collaboration with Swarovski, both received $10,000 and a year of mentorship with industry leaders.
  • The Accessory Designer of the Year Award was presented to Dean Davidson by musician Tyler Shaw and TV personality Traci Melchor.
  • The Outerwear Brand of the Year Award went to prestigious luxury brand Mackage, of Montreal. 
  • Focals by North received the Joe Fresh Fashion Innovation Award, presented to a company that is innovating how we experience, consume or interact with fashion through technology.
  • Marie-Eve Aubry received the Simons Fashion Design Student Award, presented to an exceptional fashion design student who has recently graduated from a Canadian fashion design program. 
  • Max Abadian received the Image Maker of the Year Award, presented to an outstanding Canadian fashion photographer or filmmaker who has made a significant impact within the Canadian and/or global fashion industry. 
  • The Stylist of the Year Award was presented to flamboyant and passionate Montrealer artist/stylist Cary Tauben by Gigi Gorgeous.
  • Krow Kian received the Fresh Face of the Year Award, presented to an emerging Canadian model who the industry recognizes as one of Canada’s newest and brightest fresh faces.
  • The Model of the Year Award was presented to Tasha Tilberg by Dayle Haddon.
  • Matt & Nat was awarded the Fashion Impact Award, presented to a Canadian designer or brand that has made a significant social or philanthropic impact in the Canadian and/or international community.
  • The Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year Award went to Fecal Matter. 
  • KOTN took home the H&M Sustainability Award, which celebrates a brand or individual taking action and inspiring change in the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future.
  • The first ever Makeup Artist of the Year Award and Hair Artist of the Year Award were awarded to Hung Vanngo and Harry Josh, respectively by well-known actor Sarah Gadon and Animatrice/TV host/Ambassador of @ArsenalMontreal Art Contemporain Vanessa Pilon.

The fashionable and stylish continued the night at the CAFA ‘Slay the Runway’ themed After Party, in partnership with XPOSED, with drinks and food, while boisterously viewing a hotly contested runway competition with commentator Twysted Miyake Mugler, producer/DJ Karim Olen Ash, and a special performance by Mango Sassi. Competitors Jaer, Luna Dubois, Roderick, Oleg, TKO, Jay Jay Kings, Naomi, Reggie, Scarlett, and Cesare Miyake-Mugler, dressed in flamboyant couture-inspired attire vogued in front of a panel of esteemed fashion jurists, including Suzanne Boyd, Keith Richardson, DJ Pleasure, Marvel Monroe, and Songbird Miyake-Mugler.

CAFA’s generous sponsors, including returning and presenting sponsor Rogers Communications Inc., Platinum sponsor, Mantella Corporation, Swarovski, Ravel by CF, Simons, H&M, Joe Fresh, Hudson’s Bay, Palettera, Porter Airlines, Fairmont, Fairmont Royal York, The Kit, Facebook, and Beattie’s Distillers, support the CAFA gala and programmes.

We would to extend our thanks to
Ariella Eydelman
PR Coordinator | ZOÏ Agency
for the invitation to the Canadian fashion event of the year.