Evan Biddell returned to Toronto Fashion Week Tuesday night after a two year absence that included a tour of China. He announced his arrival with a brief, 14-look collection that brought back not only the loud cheers of his vocal fan base, but also the designer’s particular brand of diamond-in-the-rough innovation.
Take, for example, the wild prints he unearthed from the ceiling high piles of bolts that fill Toronto’s dusty downtown fabric stores. Where many would have (rightly) passed by the weird mix of cheetah print and kaleidoscopic tigers with peacock-feather headdresses, Biddell opened it up and made it the arresting focus of the gown that opened his Spring 2013 show. “I like to dig and find treasures in dark places and clean them up and dust them off and reintroduce them,” he explains.
Reintroduction is an apt word as the show was something of a fresh look at his greatest hits–there was his signature comic-book prints (another buried fabric store treasure), slick black pieces cut into angular shapes or hung with dramatic, glossy fringe, and several long, billowing gowns, including a black silk number with a free-floating Japonesque motif. But the the 29-year-old is less interested in the constant trend churn of fashion than he is in simply making his customers happy: “It was all about the muse, and how we all think about these women we’re dressing and how they’re so important to what we make.”
To that end, Biddell has also been doing custom work since his return to the city and has hooked up with Kealan Sullivan of Toronto’s 69 Vintage to reinvent vintage pieces in to one-of-a-kind creations for a new retail venture. Though Biddell appears to eschew mass appeal, one senses that what ever he turns his eye to will find a loudly-cheering audience.
Watch Now: Evan Biddell’s fashion film for Spring 2013