January 31, 2014. Today is New Years Day on the Lunar Calendar! Happy Chinese New Year to all — may your year be as graceful, free-spirited, and majestic as the Horse.
Tonight is also the Eve of the Inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, also known as the CAFAs, which will be held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel tomorrow evening. Canadian culture is on the rise, and the time has come to show the world how much talent there is right here at home. Vicky Milner, the managing director has been working closely with us on all the graphic design and event collateral at PALETTERA. We have been working alongside a phenomenal team of people: Brittney Kuczynski (Co-Founder) & Susan Hart, Jennifer Bassett at Bassett Events, Corey Mandell, Ev3nts, Vanessa Mulroney and Jane Hanrahan at Power of Prive, and ASC Public Relations. This project has been a labour of love, a lot of hard work and heart — we hope to give you just a glimpse of the journey leading up, from the graphic design side of things!
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2.5 years ago, we got a phone call from Jackie Gideon, one of the co-founders of CAFA on a crisp autumn afternoon. Something big was brewing on the cultural scene that we were about to have a big part in shaping. Over the holidays, our team was working into the wee hours of the night, executing our original concept of the iconic CAFA launch invitation. After months of design work, our proofs were immaculate. It was time to produce them. A team of about 8 of us in our cozy studio were setting up the presses, cutting, gilding in gold, sewing the chiffon flowers, and crafting the hexagonal box that would eventually reach the desks of Fashion Elites across Canada. Named “The Big Event,” we celebrated at the spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. The room was abuzz with media and cultural enthusiasts. All invitees’ names were lovingly pressed in gold onto the cover of this iconic hand-crafted box — a custom shape and size that stack together like a honeycomb. Yet, each one is different in that every marble paper band was a unique cut.
See more about this evening at our event and project gallery, The Big Event.
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In the summer of 2012, jury letters were sent to invite fashion experts to be a part of this incredible milestone in Canada. Meetings were beginning, and Brittney and Susan were out and about the country, gathering feedback and planning the path ahead. The jury letters were well-received — who doesn’t enjoy being invited to weigh in on a historical celebration by a hardcover white gold folio piece with a prestigious gold emblem? From Montreal to Calgary and Halifax to Nova Scotia, the energy in Toronto spread nation wide.
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We proceeded to many meetings with the CAFA ambassadors, generously hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Vicky Milner stepped on as the chief executor in her role as Managing Director, and details were set. The awards were to be held on February 1, 2014. The race began, and our Art Director, Deborah Lau-Yu was also appointed the Director of Graphic Arts for the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Committee, alongside Jennifer Bassett, Corey Mandell, Brittney Kuczynski and Susan Hart.
PALETTERA was tasked with the first job of designing a beautiful sponsorship deck that would be presented to potential sponsors and supporters. The concept we came up with was a deck that would not only “WOW” its recipients, but it was an artpiece that celebrated Canada. For this, we created a booklet in three types of papers: a deep Canadian red, regal gold, and linen whites. We designed a contemporary maple leaf pattern that was geometric and fashion all at once. It also featured a gorgeous die cut silhouette of a maple leaf that folded in half to adorn the front and back covers of the deck, in a tastefully pearlized deep red. To finish, the top corner was sealed with a delicate gold emblem. Though substantial, the piece was mail-friendly too! It mailed in a cream envelope with a gorgeous gold label, and became the central piece in pitching sponsorship and support. (Photos of these will be found on our official event gallery page at a later date)
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Ticket sales poured in and sponsors came on board. On the logistical end, the committee was working away at the event production and we continued to support with the graphics and art direction. Then most recently, in January of this year, we developed a sleek, budget-fitting concept for the invitations. A duo-sided design, it was dynamic, prestigious and smart. The guestlist itself boasts many iconic Canadians including Coca Rocha, Joe Mimran, Suzanne Rogers, Sylvia Mantella and more. George Pimentel is the official photographer, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll capture tomorrow! Here are some sneak peeks off of a phone camera, and you’ll get a better taste of them shortly!
As the event unfolded, we designed other forms of media for online blasts and e-invitations.
Ads were published in the National Post, announcing the event to our country! We were honoured to be alongside many great companies such as Rogers, Mantella, West Jet, The Ritz-Carlton, Sephora, Yorkdale, Swarovski, BMO, Browns, PFAFF, and many more.
In our studio, we have been working away at the programme book design, signage, and making other great little details.
And now the time has come to welcome the first ever Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. We look forward to seeing everyone in their stunning gowns and fashion styles, as we celebrate the growth of our culture. At PALETTERA, our entire team is so honoured to be a part of pushing Canadian culture forward. Celebrate with us by checking back for post-event images and updates in the weeks to come! O, Canada! This was all history in the making [literally].
See you there!