Escape the Runway, held at the Thompson Toronto, was the place to be on May 10. There were over 600 guests in attendance who came out to see five of Canada’s hottest designers showcase their talents. Proceeds from the event, which included a silent auction, went to support the Canadian fashion industry. It was an extraordinary evening to bring awareness that having strong Canadian labels are crucial to the future of homegrown talent.

Going to the various levels of the hotel, we experienced each of the five designers who had very different styles. The main floor lobby bar had Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks, whose line is called Peggy Sue Collection. She won the 2016 Toronto Fashion Incubator(TFI) New Labels Award. She produces her clothes exclusively in North America and works directly with farmers, mills, and artisans to make that happen. Her theme for the evening was “earth.”

Also presenting at the lobby bar was emerging designer, Stephanie Moscall-Varey. She was the winner of the first prize at the 2016 Italian Contemporary Film Festival Design Competition. Her theme was Mid Summer Night’s Dream, and she showed her Norfolk Collection which has structures and shapes inspired by nature.

Christopher Paunil established his line in 2010 featuring designs for the contemporary woman with both bridal wear and ready to wear looks. At his Marie-Antoinette inspired tea party, his models wore pink formal gowns in various shades.

As we arrived on the rooftop, we got to see two exciting designers showcase their styles in different ways. Paul Hardy Design (who is currently celebrating 15 years in Canadian fashion) had his models posing with guests for on the spot photo sessions. This interactive approach broke the walls between models and audiences, letting anyone feel like they were a runway model. He also had a strip poker activation as well.

Travis Taddeo (CAFA Menswear Designer of the Year) is known for combining elegance with edginess while mixing silk, jersey, leather, and fur. At the infinity pool, he combined aerial artists with his black-clad male models “working out,” combining the theme of athleticism with fashion.

Some of the guests attending included Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, Real Housewives of Toronto cast members Joan Kelley Walker, Grego Minot and Ann Kaplan Mulholland, Mr. D ‘s Suresh John, Hendrixroe designer Jordan McKay, UFC commentator Robin Black, Kinky Boots‘ star Erica Peck, supermodel Yasmin Warsame, and Murdoch MysteriesHelene Joy .

Guests got to enjoy delicious appetizers, a dessert bar and assorted drinks while embracing Canadian fashion

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