Autumn 2023 Fforme presentation at a gallery in Chelsea. It was a fitting place to showcase Paul Helbers’ approach to clothing, which revolves around curiosity and experimentation with architectural shapes. For the third collection, Helbers continues to expand the brand’s visual vocabulary, focusing on rich shapes and subtle details that elevate everyday pieces. “For me, it’s a perversion of what we’re already doing,” he said during a date. “Last season was about the tunic and the corset being fastened and unfastened, and it was kind of skinny, and now It’s like the insect is bursting out,” he added with a laugh.
The cropped puffer jacket – a new category for the brand – is a perfect example of this metamorphosis. It has a subtle A-line construction that gathers into the body as it moves away. “I wanted it to look like you don’t understand where the volume is coming from,” he explained. The raglan sleeves are puffy but still have a unique geometric shape while being able to lie flat against the body. At the back, they were carefully tucked into the bodice, creating an effect that suited delicate gowns more than utilitarian coats. “It took me three months to get the sleeves on,” Herbers said.
A chocolate-brown decadent car coat looks utilitarian from the front, with oversized ruffles on the back The shape of the fringe is reminiscent of a cape or a smartly draped scarf. The “Vivid Blue” cloak is a rectangle with a circular cutout on one of its long sides. “Body references and abstract volumes, that’s the definition of elegance,” said Helbers as he expertly wrapped the capes around the models. A simple pair of leather pants has an intricate waistband made up of darts for a swirly paper bag waist effect.
Knitwear has a similar effect to the treatment. A short-sleeved sweater with raglan sleeves in brown has special stitching to ensure it fits snugly against the body, giving it a gently sloping shape; a six-layer turtleneck in black, white and violet has a heathered effect and is softer than soft. A 3/4-sleeve tee, meanwhile, has all the comfort of a tee, but with a slightly padded thick rib that makes it more formal. “When you wear it, it matters because it’s like a sculpture,” says Helbers. “A good sculpture always sits in its context. It’s about occupying the space around you.”