Fashion For All
Helbers, who directed the men's collections at Maison Martin Margiela prior to directing Louis Vuitton's men's division under Marc Jacobs from 2006 to 2011, provided his second menswear collection referred to as Helbers in Paris over the weekend. The first debuted in January to much honor for its contemporary, ultra-luxurious mix of traditional suiting pieces and athletic wear-inspired staples (like track trousers) made appropriately formal for the office, and earning fans from buyers at Barneys, Mr. Porter and Matches Fashion. His 2nd variety improved those concepts, however rendered in lighter fabrics and looser cuts for spring 2017.
Athleisure is all the rage these days, however as Helbers explains it, he's always been working this method. "With my own label in the '90s, it was based on the building and construction of sportswear however in tailoring materials; however, I didn't have the level of experience I had from Vuitton and Margiela then," he says. "I simply think maybe now, there's more room in fashion to explore this direction than there was previously."
Since leaving his post at Vuitton in 2011, Helbers has actually sought advice from with several brand names, including Milan-based women's athleisure brand name Callens and Chinese cashmere maker Erdos, while laying the foundations for his brand-new label. Where my clothes are made and who makes them and how they are produced is really important," he states.
We took a seat with Helbers in New York to discuss his background, approach to design and prepare for his new label (which, yes, include a women's line down the road).
Can you talk a bit about your profession, your time at Margiela and what have you been doing since you left Vuitton in 2011?
With some individuals working there, I began my own collection, Inch, which was about accuracy and about combining customizing with sportswear the name suggested that in a single inch there was something going on. I'm from Holland, and if you fly over Holland you can see how it's very developed, there's not one square centimeter that has actually not been cultivated, and in a method that's exactly what my clothes are. Over the years I've found out more to not make it look too accurate, because it needs a ruggedness, it needs to go beyond that.
That understanding is why I guess Margiela chose to call me and ask me to become studio director. After Margiela I joined Vuitton and after Vuitton, I prepared the launch of this label.
Where my clothes are made and who makes them and how they are produced is actually important. The method we draw is really articulate. We invest a lot of time in sketching out the concepts and information, and that's kind of exactly what periods for us the way the collection goes.
I've taken my time to study this, and at the same time I've been consulting for other brands, and Callens was one of them, and Erdos, a cashmere brand name in China. In January I launched this line.
How did your experience at Margiela notify the method you design now?
For me it was an excellent school. I believe what I enjoyed at Margiela is to be challenged with a designer who in the end makes clothes, in addition to style. I likewise [liked] the [process of] thinking before you draw, instead of just producing and modifying. You go through a process of what is the principle, what fabric do you opt to do it in, and in the end, do I want to wear it, what do I have to do making it so it ends up being desirable for me?
You were most just recently speaking with at the women's athleisure brand name Callens. Did that get you believing more about incorporating components of athleisure into your own line?
I've constantly been working in this manner. At the end of the day, everyone can only do one thing extremely well I'm a one-trick pony. With my own label in the '90s it was based on the building of sportswear however in customizing materials, but I didn't have the level of experience I had from Vuitton and Margiela then. I've since [found out] how you can use those materials without compromising the elegance or the aesthetic. It's the way you want to dress, and I simply think perhaps now, there's more room in fashion to explore this direction than there was in the past. I feel there is renewed desire for purer things, things that are well-done and well-fitted, well-cut. When you're young, you experiment, and it's nice to try things out, and as you get older, you understand yourself, then you have a particular method of defining your uniform and what you like to wear week in and week out. Having a uniform features desire to have a particular level of quality, a certain level of finishing and a sort of easiness that permits you to work. And people travel more now, their lives are a lot more vibrant, so the capability of the collection is actually highlighting that method of living.
Do you design with yourself in mind?
I have other people in mind, however you can't truly ignore yourself it's not a button you can switch off. I do think it's important that a collection reflects variety worldwide. You can't dress everybody, you have to make a choice and constantly remain within a particular frame, with particular colors, products and lengths.
How would you describe the target client?
I think people who appreciate clothing, and desire a sort of effortlessness. I don't really have an age in mind, it's more character than fashion, a collection in which you can reveal yourself, without losing your own identity, without ending up being a fashion victim.
What do you imply when you say you do not desire it to be fashion?
You desire it so that when somebody walks into the space, you say that's a lovely guy instead of that's a lovely fit. I feel style in a specific sense if really recognizable, and that's why my clothing is more discrete. I think where fashion is in some cases screaming, I am whispering.