Friday, December 28, 2007

Project Runway Canada Winner Is Evan Biddell

The potty-mouthed, Saskatoon-raised fashion designer proved he "measures up" and became the first winner of Project Runway Canada last night. Or shall we say, almost two months ago?

Biddell was awarded PR Canada's $100,000 payout back in late-October, shortly after he and fellow finalists Marie Genevieve Cyr and Lucian Matis showed their collections at L'Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto. A contract with the show's network Slice forbade him to spread the news until last night's finale. And you can imagine how difficult that was for the outspoken stitcher.

"I'm feeling pretty amped," Biddell, 24, tells Sun Media. "I'm glad this is finally coming out to the public."

When he wasn't pulling out the dramatics -- and the expletives -- on Project Runway Canada, Biddell was effortlessly coming up with playful, edgy designs that impressed the judges (supermodel Iman, ELLE Canada editor Rita Silvan and Bustle Clothing founder Shawn Hewson) and irritated his competitors right to the very end.

"I'm pretty sure they didn't want me to win," Biddell says of Cyr and Matis. "I think both of them would have rather had the either one win over me. I remember Lucian telling me that I probably didn't deserve to win. I thought it was down to one of them. I was honestly ready to go home happy, regardless."

Biddell -- who unlike his competitors, had no professional design training prior to the show -- went home a little happier than he expected. The 10 outfits he presented at L'Oreal Fashion Week had the wow factor the judges were looking for. So what if they were inspired by Saturday-morning cartoon characters?

"It was like this sort of team of girls who were going to come out and kick your ass," Biddell says of the colourful line he designed at a friend's studio on Vancouver Island during the three-month timeslot the Top 3 were given pre-Fashion Week.

After seeing his designs -- ranging from a dangerously sexy frock to a casual leather hoodie -- on the catwalk, the thought of winning crossed Biddell's mind. But he still nearly dropped an f-bomb when supermodel host Iman announced the verdict.

"Shut the @#$% up," he repeats. (Thankfully, he managed to stop himself after "the" during the taping.)

The oh-so-tender moment was classic Biddell -- though he insists he's not deserving of the "Biddell Bitch" nickname given to him by his close friends and oft-repeated by PR Canada fans.

"I'm actually a really down-to-earth guy," he says.

Along with $100,000 to start his own fashion line, Biddell won a professional portfolio shoot, a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada magazine and a retail mentorship with Winners. His model, Ashley Hart, will also be featured in an ELLE Canada spread.

And now that Canada knows Biddell came out on top, he's not wasting any time.

"I'm going to set up a studio and get all the equipment I need to start working and get a show together for the spring," he says.

That studio will be in Vancouver -- not Saskatoon. Biddell hasn't lived in Saskatchewan for six years. He says Vancouver has his heart, but he dreams of opening a shop in London someday.

Meantime, he'll be on the West Coast working on a line of custom (read: Expensive) pieces and a line of everyday garb. He made a point on the show of not using "sweatshop fabric" and will continue working with organic cotton, vegan silk and other eco-friendly materials. In other words, he's keeping it simple.

"I like to just have the statement made without overdoing it," he says.

13 comments:

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