Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Biddell Wins Project Runway Canada!

Glory to the underdog, because self-taught Saskatoon native Evan Biddell has won the first ever Project Runway Canada fashion-design competition! I think it’s awesome when an impulsive, combative person wins a reality TV challenge, and that's just what happened this past Monday evening.

Originally from Alberta, Biddell started sewing as a teenager when he and his friends needed funky clothes to wear to raves. He sold a couple of items but had never attended fashion school, or designed a full collection, before being selected to compete on Project Runway Canada this fall.

Alongside Marie Genevieve Cyr of Montreal and Lucian Matis of Toronto, Biddell presented his first womenswear collection at L'Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto last October. The three remaining finalists got three months and $8,500 to design ten original pieces.

Of his designs, supermodel and PRC’s host Iman said, "his clothes have a new language, and that has to be nurtured."

Ahh, what a lovely thing for Iman to say!

I can’t lie, I really thought there was no way in hell that kid could win. Especially as the episode unfolded and we learned he hadn’t started his collection until three weeks before, and he forgot one of his dresses at home. He’s lazy and impulsive, and throughout the show’s episodes he butted heads with almost everyone. Because of this, I thought I'd be more upset that he won, but I'm actually pretty stoaked about it. His talent got the better of me:

Actually, I had my money on Marie-Genevieve to win, as her quirky, artsy Quebecois style thrilled me in the earlier episodes. But after eagerly devouring her final ten-piece collection (based on “innovative architecture”) I was sad to deduce that she would probably not be the winner.

It was too all-over-the-place. Too 80s-mod-indie without any real innovation. The clothes showcased some interesting ideas, but didn’t captivate me. And with the models wearing barrettes crisscrossing every which way in their hair, I thought the whole look came across a bit sloppy. Sort of like a kid playing dress-up.

Also, Lucien’s collection inspired by “Japanese gardens” was pretty, but left me wanting more. Although it did make PRC judge and Elle Canada editor-in-chief Rita Sylvan weep for its beauty and its positivity, I thought the collection as a whole was too constumey. I found the mesh hat pieces distracting as they took too much attention away from his designs.

But when I saw Biddell’s ten pieces based on “Saturday morning cartoons” (rad!) come down the runway, I was shocked. It was amazing! I loved his idea, loved his colours (bright jewel tones), loved his cuts (fitted tops, hooded one-pieces, edgy stiff skirts), and loved his instincts. His collection was current, but it was still him, and it showed he was clearly the best of the three.

Biddell gets $100,000 to begin his own fashion line, a professional portfolio photo shoot, a retail mentorship with Winners and a cover and feature spread in Elle Canada magazine.

He says he plans to use the money to buy a studio and create a collection in time for next fall's Fashion Week, so he can inject some identity into the Canadian fashion scene.

Lookin’ forward to it!

So… did you catch the final episode? Who do you think should have won? What did you think of the designs? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Photos courtesy of


erin said...

oh i'm so glad you posted about this Lena! and i felt the same way as you... i originally hoped M-G would win, but Biddell's collection was surprisingly awesome. i wasn't into Lucian's at all - i can't believe Rita Silvan bawled about it! anyway, now i can't wait for the American one to start here in January - i'm trying to avoid all the blogs that talk about it so i'll be surprised...

Lena said...

I think M-G will go on to do great things, so we shouldn't be disappointed. (Although I think I still might be a little bit.)

And I know! That tear-fest was way melodramatic.

Oooh, I also can't wait for the U.S. one to start... This is the only reality show I will make a point to watch because it is so entertaining and because the contestants are so talented.

"Sorry, I can't go out tonight. I have, er, plans..." Hee hee.

Gazella said...

lol i wanted lucian to win!
but now looking at the pictures of the clothing, i think mg's look the most and RTW

but i totally understand why they would choose biddell

Shallom (Editor) said...

I've been keeping up with Project Runway here in the states and this season is definitely worth watching! One of the dancers I'm working with has a friend in the competition - Elisa the multimedia artist....anyways won't give you any spoilers here, but definitely stay tuned :)

Hilary said...

A little late but ITA that Biddell deserved the win. I loved his collection and his ideas! I think Biddell, MG, and Lucian are my fave top 3 from all the seasons of PR and PC I've seen. BTW... I am totally crazy for thinking all that conflict between Biddell and Lucian this season was really a manifestation of sexual tension??? Just saying...

Lena said...

Oh, it totally was...

Anonymous said...

I love how Biddell was such a cartoon on this show. I have known him his whole life and knew from the start he would win. He has never done a collection but has over 2000 pieces spread around the world. Every single piece street can't get him to make anything exactly the same twice. He sleeps and then he works like a mad genius for 3 days straight. yah Biddell You made the best TV....

Lena said...

That must have been so cool to see someone you know on PRC! Biddell definitely has the talent, the attitude and the originality to make a serious mark on Canada's fashion scene. And I, for one, cannot wait.