You paint this. I’ll sew that. Collaborations in the fashion world are nothing new. Adding fresh eyes and new hands with different skill sets can often elevate a collection. At Fashion Art Toronto’s (FAT) 10th anniversary presentation, designer Evan Biddell takes full advantage of this knowledge, pairing up with artist Jennifer Walton.
It was on Project Runway Canada that Biddell first became a nationally-known name within the design world — but it wasn’t until much later, at a small Fashion Week after party, that I personally knew him. What I discovered then holds true today: when Biddell is inspired, you can see it in his eyes. So when he came back from Burning Man two years ago, I knew he was ready to create again. This was good news for everyone. “You have to go, Rolyn,” he raved. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.”
Biddell designs like an artist. When inspiration strikes, he designs. His collections seem to spurt forth like an uncontrollable fountain of fun. Inspiration for this collection struck when he met Walton at Burning Man. Having gotten his start designing clothes for the rave scene back in BC, it makes sense that music and dance are triggers for his process. His current collaboration, years in the making, is now sauntering down the catwalk at Daniels Spectrum.
As model turned singer Renne Thompson opens the show with a short a capella, models slowly, sexily slither down the runway, staring out at the audience like beings not quite from our realm. They stretch their limbs to fill the flowing cloth, as if their bodies were works of art encased in works of art. The embody the clothing they are wearing.
And what they are wearing is from another time and place, inspired from a decade not-so-long ago and from a galaxy perhaps far, far away. Biddell presents updated ’70s-inspired jumpsuits, bell bottoms hot pants and flowing tunic dresses.
Simple cuts and fresh folds create a modern disco diva. Can you dig it? Black is usually a very safe/popular colour in the fashion world, but in Biddell’s collection, black represents deep, dark space. A celestial canvas.
With the addition of Jenny Jenn’s hand-painted celestial masterpieces (all of which glow in the dark) on each garment, these modern, ’70s psychedelic silhouettes are jettisoned through the Biddell black hole, elevating them to an ethereal, intergalactic level.
Biddell’s Burning Man experience has come alive on the catwalk of Toronto.