Speaking to Vogue Scandinavia following Fforme's celebrated spring/summer '24 runway, creative designer Paul Helbers reflects on his sense of restraint that truly resonated at New York Fashion Week
Paul Helbers is the kind of designer who moves to the beat of his own drum. So it made sense that, for his inaugural runway presentation at the creative helm of Fforme, models moved placidly through The DiMenna Center to the live percussive rhythm of a single drum played by Lesley Mok.
“I can imagine any kind of woman wearing our clothes and doing their job or doing whatever they’re doing in life,” Helbers says over the phone from Paris. And Mok, who was dressed in an all-black look from the spring/summer ’24 collection being showcased, encapsulated that to a tee. “I think to take one woman doing what she does, in this case, a drummer, wearing our clothes, is really seeing the clothes in action.”
After two seasons of appointment-only presentations, the choice to show as part of the New York Fashion Week schedule was nothing short of a triumph for Helbers. In his own words, the pieces were designed to say to women: “You can just be yourself. You don’t have to wear anything that competes with menswear.” So – in opposition to the world of “power dressing” that Helbers knows well from his influential menswear stints at The Row and Maison Margiela – SS24 presents “soft lines, structures that flow, a modular collection that you can layer,” he describes. The shapes have a sense of ease, always in accordance with the body: with signature draped T-shirts, tapered volume through calf- and floor-skimming dresses, streamlined collarless blazers and coats – all free of any unnecessary detail.
“It’s a kind of reduced aesthetic,” Helbers says. The restraint seen across the design, the show’s location, the models’ styling and the pared-back soundtrack extended effectively to the collection’s palette, too – muted shades of dusky pink and browns, punctuated by crisp white and black ensembles and every now and then, a glittering flash of silver. “They’re simple and sumptuous clothes, rich in techniques, sculptured and engineered, that work around the body – giving you immediate elegance in a very unfussy way.”
See the full Fforme SS24 collection below: