Alumnus Dr. John Semple walks the runway at Fashion Week

Dr. John Semple and David Dixon on runway
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 9:45pm

An expansive horizon, vibrant colour and innovative design – it was an exciting artistic collaboration at Toronto Women’s Fashion week in early March. A captivating watercolour of a figure standing on a sun-drenched beach served both as a stunning runway backdrop and as inspiration for the latest collection from one of Canada’s leading clothing designers.  David Dixon premiered his Fall/Winter 2018 line of women’s fashions. The painting is a work by Dr. John Semple (AOCA, 1975). At the end of the show, the painter and the designer, Dr. Semple and Dixon, were met with a standing ovation as they walked the runway together.

Former Chair of the OCAD U Board of Governors, Dr. Semple is a surgeon at Women’s College Hospital where he specializes in post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. He studied painting at OCA and then earned a BSc in medical illustration at the University of Toronto before entering medical school at McMaster University.

Dr. Semple’s painting was also featured on a silk scarf created in partnership with Dixon. The colourful scarf will be sold to raise funds for Women’s College Hospital Foundation, in support of women’s cancers. The scarves can be ordered online.

To read more about the Semple and Dixon collaboration, visit the Toronto Women’s Hospital site and Fashion magazine.  



Model on runway wearing dress with watercolour image

Dr. John Semple teams up with fashion designer for hospital fundraiser

Two men holding up a large silk scarf depicting a man looking at the ocean
Monday, November 13, 2017

Dr. John Semple, world-renowned breast cancer surgeon and Chair, OCAD University Board of Governors, has collaborated with Canadian fashion designer David Dixon on a Women’s College Hospital Foundation fundraising initiative. Together, they have created an exquisite silk scarf featuring a watercolour painting by Dr. Semple that is now available for purchase.

Proceeds from the scarf will support the highest priority needs of Women’s College Hospital, including the new Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers – an innovative new partnership between WCH and the Canadian Cancer Society with a vision to transform care for women’s cancers across Canada. 

Dr. Semple, Professor, Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, is a gifted artist who graduated from OCAD University prior to entering medical school. The painting depicted on the scarf was inspired by the extraordinary courage and resilience of women facing cancer – an inner strength that Dr. Semple has witnessed time and again throughout his career at Women’s College Hospital. 

A quote from the philosopher Albert Camus helped guide Dr. Semple’s vision for the final design: “In the depth of winter I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” Drawing on the quote’s tribute to the power of inner strength, Dr. Semple’s design shows a woman walking on a beach facing an open horizon, empowered by the “invincible summer” that resides within her.

Dixon also designed a beautiful collection of dresses based on Dr. Semple’s watercolour that was unveiled at the Foundation’s Women for Women’s gala luncheon on November 8.  A video depicting the extraordinary collaboration between David Dixon and Dr. John Semple can be viewed online.