By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Danielle Preston
The Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels Fashion Show is one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year. Many new design talents eagerly await the gala that has been taking place on an annual basis since 1992, and features the hottest upcoming design talents in Canada. Among past winners and finalists are Joeffer Caoc, David Dixon, Diepo and the House of Groves.
Each year the winner takes home a cash prize, extensive media coverage and an opportunity to meet and interact with a prestigious panel of judges from the fashion industry.
The competition kicks off in the fall and, over the duration of six-months, designers work with the judges and TFI’s Executive Director Susan Langdon to enhance their collections and increase their chance to win the coveted top spot.
The latest fashion gala took place last Thursday at the Design Exchange.
This year the judging panel included David Dixon, Cynthia Florek of Sears Canada, Natalie Lecomte of Holt Renfrew, Lisa Tant of Flare magazine, Derick Chetty of the Toronto Star and stylist Peter Papapetrou.
Calgary-based Caitlin Power was the first to showcase her collection, which was predominated by leather accents on dresses and jackets.
Velvet and silk cottons were the focus of Power’s line, while colours of choice were black, olive, white and grey. Power also presented a spectrum of open-back pieces, bustiers and jumpsuits.
Golnaz Ashtiani of Ashtiani label was up next with a series of dresses and coats. She concentrated on wool, crepe and cotton/viscose. The highlight of Ashtiani’s line was undoubtedly the opening piece – a colour block (rose, cream, camel), medium-length wool crepe dress, with draped sleeves, a thin belt tightly tied around the model’s waist and a matching pair of flesh-tone stiletto, peep-toe boots. Ashtiani contrasted varied pocket shapes with layers, ruffles, trimmings and flowing fabrics.
The third, and final, finalist was Nikki Wirthensohn of Narces. Her collection was an excellent reflection of Wirthensohn’s specialty – after-five and eveningwear with a feminine and sexy twist. The models paraded down the catwalk in mini-dresses: gold sequins, kimono wraps, strapless cocktail pieces and full skirt silk organza numbers. Narces cashmere coats with leather and sheepskin detailing were also reminiscent of dresses in their style and flair.
After a short deliberation period, the judges announced that Golnaz Ashtiani was the winner of this year’s competition. Apart from the cash prize, Ashtiani also received a feature in Flare magazine and an opportunity to design an outfit for Sears womenswear.