Paul Helbers is a man who knows how men want to dress. After building a career designing menswear for powerhouse brands such as Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela, the veteran designer is now putting himself forward with a new collection that focuses more sharply on his unique brand of refined essentials.
“With this collection, you can dress very elegantly, very avant garde, or casually, or a mix of all three,” says Helbers of his dynamic debut. “That’s the strength of this collection, and my client is the man who understands and enjoys that.”
Drawing from inspiration that ranges from 1800s workwear to Irving Penn’s 1940s portraits of T.S. Eliot and Leonard Bernstein, the collection breathes new life into the traditions of menswear thanks to Helbers’ modern perspective. “Menswear has changed dramatically over the past ten years,” he notes. “There’s much more freedom, and there’s much more to choose from. Any kind of inspiration—be it ethnic clothing or womenswear—it’s all possible.”
Even with these infinite possibilities, Helbers brings to his collection a laser-like focus. “I focus on a man who knows how he wants to dress. As you get older, you know your body and you know what works for you. The Helbers man chooses a uniform that’s right for him and then he buys those pieces, but with a certain refinement and comfort for a sense of feeling good in his clothes.”
And that, perhaps, is the true essence of the Helbers man: feeling good in both your clothes and your own skin. “With these clothes, you can be yourself,” he continues. “It’s about expressing your personality without it becoming a fashion statement. I prefer when someone walks into the room and you say, ‘Wow, that’s a good-looking man,’ rather than, ‘That’s a good-looking suit.’”