Kim Cattrall talks supporting homegrown style ahead of Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press

TORONTO -- As one of the fashionable female leads on the trendsetting series "Sex and the City," Kim Cattrall came to recognize the power of style to reflect mood, character and surroundings.
   
The award-winning actress sought to infuse a similarly stylish approach to her character, Davina, in the made-in-Canada series "Sensitive Skin" -- albeit with a homegrown twist.
 
In every scene that Cattrall is in, her character, an ex-actress and model, wears at least one Canadian designer as part of her ensemble.
   
"I was really excited to bring that element," Cattrall said in a phone interview from New York.
   
"It was difficult because I think most people in my industry, they want to just fill in the blanks of what the dress should look like based on known designers, based on what's fashionable right then. But that's why I brought in (stylist) Marie-Eve Tremblay who was amazingly helpful in the sense of introducing me to young Canadian designers."
   
As Cattrall takes on hosting duties at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards in Toronto on Friday, she sees the opportunity as a natural extension of her commitment to celebrate the local industry's talents.
 
"I think that these Canadian designers warrant headlines of their own, and they should be worn, and people should know about them," said Cattrall. "It's been a really interesting education for me."
   
Cattrall has worn designs from several of this year's CAFA nominees on "Sensitive Skin," which returns for its second season May 15 on HBO Canada.
   
Among the homegrown creations she's worn are items from womenswear labels Pink Tartan and Lucian Matis, and past CAFA winners Mikhael Kale and Sid Neigum.
   
Cattrall is a supporter of Canadian fashion offscreen as well, wearing designs from longtime lifestyle brand Roots, and Toronto-based label Smythe, known for its modern, tailored jackets.
   
Cattrall also recalled wearing creations by 2013 CAFA nominee Lida Baday offscreen, and on the inaugural season of "Sensitive Skin." She was disheartened to hear the womenswear designer had shuttered her label in 2014 after 27 years.
   
"Everybody knows their Italian designers. They know their Gucci, Pucci. Why does a designer like Lida Baday go out of business?" Cattrall asked, describing Baday's designs as "terrifically well-made" and "versatile."
   
Cattrall also lamented the lack of general awareness about other homegrown talents like Jeremy Laing, who also closed his label in 2014.
   
"I showed one of the jackets to a friend of mine, and she's Canadian ... and she didn't know who Jeremy Laing was," recalled Cattrall. "She said: 'I would have bought that.... That's a great jacket. It's well-made. It's a design that's slightly different."'
   
She sees the CAFAs as a chance to potentially offer broader exposure to Canadian labels.
   
"It's, of course, celebrating designers and very talented people and very hard-working people. But I feel that my job hosting it, and the presenters ... is to spread the world. And the word is excitement. It's exciting times for Canada right now."