Diary of the week: The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFAs)

From Yahoo Style editor-in-chief Joe Zee to E! Fashion Police host Brad Goreski and supermodels Heather Marks and Coco Rocha (with her growing baby bump in tow), it was a highly fashionable affair at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto for the second annual Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFAs) on Jan. 31.

Toronto-raised Joe held hosting duties for the decked-out crowd of industry insiders and media, who sipped cocktails and enjoyed a lengthy meal as accolades were bestowed on a who's who of homegrown talent. In a passing of the sartorial torch, last year's Vanguard Award honouree, the inimitable Jeanne Beker, presented Elle's former creative director with his award as Olivia Palermo made a surprise appearance in a congratulatory video.


Also in attendance were the evening's honorary chairs, Roots founders Michael Budman and Don Green, whose leather goods and varsity jackets have been outfitting Canadians to rugged perfection for more than 40 years. But rugged took a back seat at the CAFAs where, for Canada's Best Dressed listees like Jenna Bitove, ball gowns were the order of the evening - hers by Canadian designer Mikael D (yes, the man behind Giuliana Rancic's 2013 Emmy's gown!). Actress Elisha Cuthbert followed suit in a frothy cream number by Matthew Gallagher, while fellow screen star Sarah Gadon slipped into a soft, less voluminous stunner by award-winner Erdem. Model of the Year Anaïs Pouliot stole the show in a gallery-worthy, seemingly splattered gown by Lucian Matis.

Other big winners? Womenswear designer Mikhael Kale, menswear designer Philippe Dubuc, street-style photographer Tommy Ton (who's made many a fashion editor a sartorial celebrity and scooped up two awards!), footwear designer Jerome C. Rousseau (he's outfitted the feet of celebs like Charlize Theron, Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson) and International Canadian Designer of the Year Erdem Moralioğlu, who accepted his statue via video.

Each of the night's Swarovski Emerging Talent Award winners - sisters Chloe and Parris Gordon of Beaufille and Toronto Fashion Week staple Sid Neigum - snagged a $10,000 prize, mentorship from the CAFA team (Think: The Bay's Suzanne Timmins, NKPR's Natasha Koiffman and Mendocino owner Jan Kaplan, among others) and a lookbook produced by The Collections.

Of the evening, CAFA managing director Vicky Milner - who launched the awards with Brittney Kuczynski and Susan Hart in 2014 - says, "Our aim is to engage and propel homegrown creative talent and the gala is a wonderful vehicle to do so."

Cheers to another coup for Canadian fashion!

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!