The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) was created to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion design. In doing so, CAFA hopes to encourage the economic development of the Canadian fashion industry and endorse Canadian cultural sovereignty. The inaugural gala for the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards takes place on February 1, 2014 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto.
PALETTERA was asked to create an invitation that would spark the interest of 150 distinguished guests, ensuring that they would be standing in the Ritz-Carlton,Toronto on February 2, 2012 to be a part of this historic milestone and announcement. The invite created buzz around the entire city, as guests and friends of guests began seeing images of the invitation circulate on social media to the mysterious, BIG EVENT. It became the event in demand, as they allure of the boxed suite promoting the then unnamed event piqued everyone’s curiosity.
150 copies were made and hand-delivered by concierge; each copy was unique and had distinct features to ensure that no box would be identical to another. Inspired by high fashion and the idea of storytelling for Canada, the suite is thoughtfully designed in every component.
THE MARBLE PAPER BAND A custom die-cut black belt, used to keep the box sealed, was designed to echo the iconic lion head logo of the Ritz-Carlton, with swooping curves and confident points. Each piece of hand-marbled paper showed different nuances in its streaks, which means that every band was unique. Mounted onto the centre was a die cut gold-pressed event logo, flanked by a tiny but commanding maple leaf, pressed in gold onto the black band.
THE ICONIC RED BOX The invitation was presented in a stunning and robust custom hexagonal box, covered by hand in a smooth and luxurious red paper stock. The box cover was first pressed in gold with all the names of invited guests — a thoughtful and historical gesture that reinforces the idea of recognizing leadership and milestones. The hexagonal shape allows for the boxes to be laid out in an interesting honeycomb pattern when placed together, and also stands on its own on any side. The edges were also gilded in gold, giving guests a true visual treat. THE MAIN
INVITATION PIECE The main invitation was a double mounted die-cut hexagonal piece that could be fully removed from the box, using the black satin ribbon pull, just like a prized piece of jewellery in its case. Timelessly, the design consisted of clean and classic typography, adorned with a single and unique twig of Canadian birch that was hand painted gold, and a beautiful fashion-inspired chiffon flower in black, also handcrafted with a golden centre.
THE INSERTS Tucked into the top of the box, the inserts with event details and sponsors information featured a series of floral silhouettes that tied back into the chiffon flower: the floral vignettes were from all the provincial flowers of Canada — a beautiful and educational piece altogether. The invitation has become a legendary achievement in Toronto this year, and many who are still finding out about the event and its broadcasting schedule for 2013 are still referring to the event in relation to the invitation design. The invitation design was the picture of the day for Biz Bash, when they covered the event, and was also used as the cover for the story: http://www.bizbash.com/oceana_announces_canadian_arts_and_fashion_awards_with_red-hued_event/toronto/story/22395/
And its significance in creating a ripple of appreciation for stationery design has just begun. The CAFA announcement invitation was not only creating buzz for the event, but started a new demand in Toronto for equally impressive invitations for other major events in the city. It is now helping Canadians to see a different side of communication design for events that is rigorous, thoughtful, substantial, deliberate and differently made from the common commercially printed flat invitation. All the traditional methods such as foil press printing, letterpress printing, die cutting, hand craftsmanship and box making, as well as edge painting and gilding were given the spotlight again in a high-fashion and contemporary style.
In the hands of many who have travelled the world and seen the best of the bests, this design has found a place in their collections as a keepsake and exemplary print piece. Aligned with the values of CAFA, the design translated our own core values into an artistic enunciation: to endorse Canadian cultural sovereignty in all areas of the arts. By encouraging Canadian artists to develop their own style and voice, we can better contribute to the overall global design and art community. Like the boxes, each one is unique, but when placed together, it forms a beautiful landscape that is strengthened and elevated.
Special Note: Our Art Director, Deborah Lau-Yu is currently the Director of Graphic Arts for the committee producing the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards.
Photography: Krista Fox Photography
Event Design: Candice & Alison
Florals: Jackie O
Hors D’Oeuvres: The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Stationery Design & Production: PALETTERA
Product Photography: Claudia Hung