What is intentional design? It may sound woo-woo, but at Fforme, designer Paul Helbers did it magnificently with a considered, edited collection that also happened to spark joy in a season that has had precious little of it so far.
The former menswear designer at Louis Vuitton and The Row attracted a glittery, pre-Gucci party crowd at his Saturday night show, from influencer Leandra Medine to Jill Biden’s stylist Bailey Moon, who settled in to listen to Anastasia Coope sing and strum her guitar as models in ballet flats and colorful knitted toques sauntered around the room, exuding the kind of easy sophistication New York fashion was built on.
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For his runway outing last season, Helbers put forth a modular group of separates that seemed to glide rather than sit on the models, draped on the body and shaped using pintucks and darts, rather than being cut from patterns and sewn.
For fall 2024, he built on that, employing even more refined materials and techniques (sculpting black hammered lamé into casual and approachable gowns through internal boning and pleating, and anchoring a gorgeous cream heavy cady cross back top using internal bead weights, as examples) to achieve an elegance that purred with ease.
“We’re growing, it’s character-building,” Helbers said backstage of his process. “I made every piece in Paris sculpted on the body using couture fabrics in a very casual way and more casual fabrics and making them more couture,” he said of elevated everyday pieces, like a washed white poplin shirt with a collar that dipped away from the neck just so, an emerald green pleated jersey bustier with the ease of a T-shirt and a whitewashed leather coat with slouchy martingale belt, styled casually with one hand in the pocket. A black pleated lamé tunic over a spaghetti strap dress styled with ballet flats was also a totally modern take on evening.
“It’s not a theme, we’re just building a body of work that keeps growing. It’s a mix of unconventional essentials, wardrobe statement pieces, but also underpinnings,” the designer said. “I think every woman should have a mix of these you can style out according to your personality. For us, the most important thing about a dress is the women who wear it.”
Launch Gallery: Fforme Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Photos
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