On the Runway

Evan Biddell

The designer brings new meaning to Factory Girl by holding his show in a manufacturing hub

Photo by Peter Balinski

Hearing “please take a seat” upon arrival at a fashion show is not uncommon. However, when that seat is on the back of a rickety golf cart going full speed, as was the case at Evan Biddell’s show last night (in order to take people from the parking lot to the venue), I take note. And hold on for dear life. Nonetheless, it was a fitting welcome from a designer who is impossible to pin down, yet has undeniable raw talent the industry can’t dismiss. Proof of his prowess: an unusual sponsor-cum-co-conspirator, Seven Continents: a state-of-the-art mannequin and fixture factory where the event took place. Turns out they build the mannequins for the bodies of work at Victoria’s Secret, Joe Fresh and Abercrombie & Fitch stores, all from their HQ in North Toronto – and I do mean north. As we sat in the “runway room” – a repurposed factory – amongst bolts of fabric and cutting tables, I had a thought. With so many fashion shows held in airy venues or traditional halls far removed from the hum of sewing machines and industry tools, how suitable to return the runway to the membrane of fashion manufacturing. As for Biddell’s work, he opened with 4 strong looks, jersey dresses all making good use of his armour theme from the show notes. At times, some of the languidly Grecian gowns studded with large metal notions felt similar to the outsize-embellishment favoured by Greta Constantine circa 2008. The best exits came early – a molten breast plate affixed to a long black dress and a gold disc backless minidress in the style of Paco Rabanne. Unfortunately, the show lost its footing midway through. A series of bed-sheet floral baggy frocks and Kenzo-esque dhoti bottoms felt disconnected to his beginning gladiatorial theme. Biddell is at his best when he works in strong, rounded, sculptural shapes. To do so, he needs better fabric, plain and simple. Speaking of well-executed simplicity, his neat white blouse with a camel leather trimmed-fringe short skirt combo proved he was capable of just that and ended the show on a clean note.

Watch the video here!