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New Face Gigi
Cedric Lefort, the genial, well-dressed New Face Director at Next Toronto may be the newest staff member at the Toronto office, but he is certainly no stranger to the company. Through a friend in Montréal, he became friends with Next Canada's owner, Thierry Tally. That friendship, and his industry experience ("I always saw things from the other side, because I was doing the castings in Paris, doing two shows a year") resulted up in Lefort taking a position at the Montréal office.
After the stint in Montréal however, he returned to his native France for two years for personal reasons before coming to Toronto.
Is he enjoying his new role? "Yeah!" His fierce laugh leaves no doubt. "That's the only reason I work here, right? I need to be excited about what I'm doing. Because I do other stuff. I do fashion consulting... fashion producing during fashion week. As soon I'm not interested anymore... as soon as I'm bored, that's time for me to quit. Because I'm older now and I know what I like and what I don't like.
New Face Lydia
"I've done fashion, I've done P.R., I've done commercial, the modelling industry... I’ve covered a lot of things. So when I do what I like I'm super excited. It's a luxury to do what I like. And the most important part of it is to meet people and to be nice to people I like and can learn from."
There is a light in Lefort's eyes as he speaks. "I really love it here. I love the people. And I tell my friends in Europe that and they say 'How can you stand the winter? It's insane!' When I was in Montréal and it was -45 my mom would call and say 'Come Home!'"
His roots are deep in the Paris fashion industry, having worked with Gilles Rosier (former First Assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier, and Creative Director for both Lacoste and Kenzo's womens line) for nearly five years as the Commercial Director in charge of selling the lines to stores across Europe.
He is also genuinely interested in Canadian fashion and spent part of L'Oréal Fashion Week helping Pink Tartan organize its show and assisting backstage with Rosa Costanzo.
"We love Canada and Canadian fashion," he says enthusiastically. "But our main focus and goal...where we make the most, is international - all the shows and cosmetics campaigns in Europe. We are always discussing with New York, Paris and London. It's a very strong network. I love Canada and I love living here, but my roots are in Europe."
That's a big advantage for Next's new faces "Before I was working in [the modelling industry] I was casting for the shows and I would get these young girls - these 14-year-old Americans – that had no idea what they were or how to direct themselves in Paris.
"That's easy to avoid if you make sure they are well supported. Not necessarily chaperoned, because you have to grow, and do things by yourself. That's part of it. You have to travel by yourself... you have be strong enough by yourself.
"But you give them the right information, you can avoid all the problems you hear about, like the girl that can't stand being abroad and has to come back. If you tell her honestly what she's going to get, and what she's going to be living like over there, she won't be frightened and lonely. She'll be supported."