A look from Sid Neigum’s award-winning TFI New Labels collection. All photography courtesy of George Pimentel.

In romance, three little words can make all the difference. In the Toronto fashion scene, it’s three letters. TFI—the
Toronto Fashion Incubator—has been nurturing local style talent for 25 years, counting designers such as David Dixon, Arthur Mendonça and Joeffer Caoc among its starry alumni. Last night, TFI celebrated its milestone with an appropriately stylish soirée—complete with two fashion competitions— at the Royal Ontario Museum. Inside the ROM crystal, guests circulated with champagne flutes, admiring all the posing on display, from fellow partiers, the dance flash mob and, in quieter form, from an installation of mannequins decked out in dresses created by TFI designers past and present. Every party needs a guest of honour, and last night it was Susan Langdon, the executive director of TFI, who, in her 18-year tenure, has transformed the incubator into a globally recognized innovator in how to support up-and-coming designers. (The first organization of its kind in the world, TFI has since inspired similar groups in 33 countries.) "Reaching 25 years is the accomplishment," Langdon told ELLE last night. "I feel so privileged to be able to work with the designers that we’ve worked with, to see them at the very beginnings of their careers and to watch them develop and grow." What has she learned about herself during the journey? "I’m a survivor. You have to be." We’ll toast to that.