All photography by Natalie Castellino.
OZ STUDIO (134 Ossington Avenue, 416-537-6379).
At a recent media cocktail to celebrate the opening of Oz, his studio-cum-boutique, Evan Biddell was voluble and relaxed as writers and editors sipped mimosas, admired the spring collection, and took notes on their BlackBerries. Star stylist Peter Papapetrou adjusted the outfits worn by up-and-coming model Dajana, as photographer and Oz co-owner Joe Fuda snapped photos, sometimes lying on the floor to get the best shot.
Later that night, a bartender from next-door tequila bar Reposado mixed up something a little stronger, while Evan’s friend, a musician, played first the harp, and then a crazy looking electronic music box she had brought back from Japan. She was sweet, self-deprecating, and talented. Everyone loved it.
A couple of days later, the Style Notebook talked to Evan.
What inspired you to open Oz?
“When we first came across this 120-year-old raw canvas, we saw amazing potential. We thought that our new ideas would mesh well with the old architecture.”
I heard that you’re modelling the concept along the lines of Warhol’s Factory. What appeals to you about that?
“Andy Warhol saw the value in the ‘collaboration.’ Warhol combined music, art, fashion, film, sex and celebrity to create his world. We want to use this space as a outlet for Toronto’s untapped art community. We’re going to be renting the space out as a working studio.”
What attracted you to this space?
“The location, of course, and the architecture. Ossington has a very distinct sense of community that changes from day to night. Chances are, you are going to run into someone you know around here. Also, the original moldings were quite attractive to us.”
What are your favourite spots in the neighbourhood?
“I love the guys down at Baby Huey, and there have been many late night sessions at the Lakeview. The Dakota is hopping on Sundays, and Reposado has a vibe which makes you feel like you’ve left Toronto.”
One of the nice things about having a retail space is that you’re in direct contact with your customers. How important is that to you?
“When you are selling a one-of-a-kind design, you only have to find one person to love it. The other exciting part about this shop is we will have the most outrageous styles available—you know, the ones conservative Canadian buyers would never try selling.”
Can you take me through a typical day at the studio?
“There will be nothing typical about the studio. Day or night.”
Doesn’t that make you want to check it out? Here are some other snaps from the opening.