Fancy dressing: menswear label Helbers is a balance between rough and refined
Paul Helbers might not be a household name in fashion (yet), but the seasoned designer certainly has the clout to cut it on the main stage. Previously the head menswear designer at Louis Vuitton, and at Maison Martin Margiela before that, Helbers struck out on his own earlier this year, presenting his debut menswear collection in January.
Launched to much acclaim, Helbers’ eponymous line (seen here) merges the sacred principles of utility and craftsmanship to a fine degree. The tightly edited collection is comprised of contemporary, yet classically styled essentials that display thoughtful details, use clever materials and offer an artisanal touch that together creates an ideal men’s wardrobe.
Inspired by Bela Lugosi, classic Robert Rauschenberg photographs and early Irving Penn portraits of TS Eliot and Bernstein, Helbers’ founding collection is a modern articulation of immaculate dressing that mixes in touches of everyday style.
‘[The concept for the label is] unpolished elegance. [This is] a wardrobe combining historic masculinity with updated technology that’s trying to find a balance between rough and refined,’ the designers states. ‘I wanted to create essentials that are beyond basic, it’s fashion for everyday. The collection is built on studied proportions and durability. There is a cult of lightness and purity, simplicity combined with sophistication.’
To this end, the inaugural collection includes wool cashmere joggers with matte nylon knee patches, lightweight semi-canvassed blazers in wool, silk and linen tweed, cashmere flannel cardigan jackets, waterproof unconstructed coats and calfskin Derby shoes to complete the polished, yet languid silhouettes. The development and use of novel fabrics was key to this.
‘We treated some cashmere silk alpaca blends on the yarn to create rich and soft tweeds for Cromby’s that are water-resistant. Wool alpaca jerseys were developed for double-breasted jackets and matching chinos to create the new tracksuit,’ explains Helbers.
He adds, ‘you could say that Helbers is somewhere in between the worn-in masculinity of Margiela and the undertow of decadent playfulness in Vuitton.’