Franco Mirabelli, fashion designer (b at Toronto 21 Oct 1959). After graduating from New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology in 1982, Franco Mirabelli joined the Anne Klein organization as an in-house design assistant. Following his term at the womenswear label, the aspiring designer apprenticed under the supervision of industry leaders Louis Dell'Olio and Donna Karan. After several years of training in the US, Mirabelli returned to Toronto in 1984 to launch his self-titled label which was deeply rooted in European culture but with a modern sensibility drawn from his State-side experiences.
As a designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer Mirabelli is widely admired for his vertical operations, which extend to 3 eponymous stores in the Toronto area, as well as sales to Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom's in the US. Mirabelli's take on Canadian sportswear has extended to include the development of several uniform collections, including staff outfitting for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, The Hazelton Hotel and Mark McEwan's "One" Restaurant.
Franco Mirabelli served as president of the industry organization Designers Ontario from 1997 to 1999, and was responsible for finding a corporate sponsor to take local designers to the next level. The Matinee Fashion Ready-to-Wear program was a direct result of his tenure.
As a highly recognized and celebrated Canadian designer, Mirabelli has been the recipient of several awards, including Designer of the Year by the City of Toronto in 1994, the award for Excellence in Fashion Design from the City of Toronto Industry Achievement Awards in 1997, and the Culture Award from the Italian Chamber of Commerce in 2009. He was honoured with a tribute evening hosted by the Fashion Group International of Toronto in 2000.
Franco Mirabelli has also initiated and lent his talents to many philanthropic causes, including Windfall Clothing, the National Ballet School, the Children's Miracle Network, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Kids, CANFAR (the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research), Red Cross International, the Teddy Bear Affair for the Children's Aid Foundation, the United Way, Message in a Bottle, Fashion Cares, and the Canadian Cancer Society.