Nominated for the award: Fashion and Style
Company: Whitney Linen
Biography: Raised by a Montreal-born literary agent and a Toronto art therapist, Whitney learned style at home. The Westwoods brought Hermes to Ontario—opening the French label’s first provincial address in Toronto’s Hazelton Lanes in the ‘80s—and summered at their villa in the South of France. Jaunting along the Mediterranean coast with their children tucked into the back seat of a vintage 1930s Citroen. , Whitney was gifted with an innate sense for gracious living. Spending her summers tooling across France and Italy on restaurant-hopping road trips with her foodie father, wandering the cobblestone streets of Nice and Porto Ercole, exploring the galleries of St Paul de Vence and, later, mixing it up in the beachy hotspots of Cannes, Monaco, and St Tropez. Well-travelled and fluent in French, Whitney was signed to Elite at 15 and worked internationally for prestige labels from Jean Paul Gaultier and Celine to Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein throughout her 20s. Her modeling career followed by stints in PR and Event Planning, Whitney launched her signature brand in 2012, taking inspiration from the laissez-faire elegance of the coast that had long been her second home.Whitney Linen launched with a collection of Cote d’Azur-inspired womenswear at Toronto Fashion Week in 2012. Capped with a selection of seed pearl accented evening gowns, the brand’s runway debut won praise for its innovative perspective on a traditional fabric. Featured in Flare, The Globe & Mail, Virtuoso Life, and style segments for TV shows, CityLine and Style Matters with Jeanne Beker, Whitney Linen soon expanded into a wide-ranging lifestyle brand. Producing summer and resort wear for men and women, a décor line, and home fragrance. Adopting the tagline ‘Living in Linen’, annual collections now range from classic home and wardrobe staples to fashion forward, seasonal pieces that emphasize the brand’s contemporary take on linen.