Martin Lim triumphs at the Mercedes-Benz Start Up finalists show

Martin Lim triumphs at the Mercedes-Benz Start Up finalists show

Danielle Martin and Pao Lim (Image: Jenna Marie Wakani) 

Back in June, Mercedes-Benz and IMG launched a national program to discover Canada’s newest design talent, travelling province to province and uncovering five finalists: Cassie Dee, Martin Lim, Travis Taddeo, Triarchy and Untitld. With mentorship from “industry insiders,” the five design houses were asked to present their collections last night in front of a panel of judges that included reps from IMG and Mercedes-Benz, as well as host Robin Kay, Fashion magazine’s Bernadette Morra, Bustle’s Shawn Hewson, and Robert Ott of Ryerson’s School of Fashion. At the end of the show, Canadian supermodel Jessica Stam announced the winner to be design duo Martin Lim, who will receive an editorial feature in Fashion magazine and a runway show in March. If the collection didn’t win over the crowd (it didn’t; many were shocked), Lim’s shy and surprised acceptance was enough to have us and everyone else in the room in a collective “awww.” See all of the collections from the Mercedes-Benz Start Up show after the jump to decide if the best designer won.

Check out all of the collections from the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition »

Montreal’s Danielle Martin and Pao Lim have worked internationally with the likes of Christian Lacroix and Roland Mouret, which explains the maturity of the collection. Flowing silk and sheer overlays were colour blocked by a palette of bright pink, beige and dove grey, drawing inspiration from Paris and a trip to London’s Tate Modern. Though we appreciated the uniqueness of each presentation, some standouts included the bold metal and chain accents on jewellery and shoes in Untitld’s collection, Travis Taddeo’s contrast of whimsical feathers with leather and the simplicity of Triarchy’s biker denim. Cassie Dee’s east-meets-west collection had some great punches of crimson, but the presumably western-inspired piping details missed the mark. Regardless of the winner,  the collective excitement about new designers aspiring to do big things has convinced us that we’ll be seeing more from these newcomers in seasons to come.