I’ve been following Evan Biddell ever since he won Season 1 of Project Runway Canada. Always impressed with the grandiose shows he puts on every season at Toronto Fashion Week, I’d assumed that Biddell’s larger-than-life persona, his runway spectacles and innovative designs were bringing in the buyers and the ka-ching. In fact, I still thought that last Tuesday night at Biddell’s Spring 2011 runway show, held on the production floor of SEVEN CONTINENTS, a company specializing in upholstered forms and furniture, mannequins, fixtures and accessorizers. It was only a few days later when I read this Eye Weekly cover story on Biddell that the illusion was shattered. No sales, rejected by Central St. Martins – Biddell not so much the superhero designer I’d thought, but rather human after all? Unexpected, yet endearing. It certainly put a different spin on what I’d seen on the runway last week.
If Biddell is desperate to sell, it certainly didn’t show in his Spring 2011 collection - and I’m not being facetious. You’d think that if he wanted to get his designs on a department store floor, he’d tone things down a bit and up the wearability factor ten-fold. The fact of the matter is that Biddell this season was still the Biddell we’ve come to know and love – risk-taking, innovative and just flat out Biddell. There was leopard, there were studs and there were peaked shoulders, and for the most part it was all very tastefully done. Biddell balanced out the harder aspects of his armour-inspired designs with some gorgeous draping and floral prints. Being an outerwear addict, the dramatic statement coats were what really drew me in this season. Without losing his edge, Biddell managed to create a collection that was more wearable than most of his previous efforts.
What Biddell sent down the runway didn’t feel like the collection of a man who not too long ago was down and out, and almost didn’t show this season; aptly titled ‘Kingdom’, the collection instead heralded to the world that Biddell is still king of his domain. How large that domain is to become, though, remains to be seen.
The Alexander McQueen boots I pulled out of the closet for the first time (posted about here)