Document offers a glimpse at the lead-up to Paul Helbers’s highly-anticipated Spring/Summer 2024 presentation

There was an organic feel to FFORME’s inaugural New York show—aided by its sloping wood-paneled space and its Fibonacci-spiraling runway. For Spring/Summer 2024, Creative Director Paul Helbers took to the DiMenna Center’s concert hall, whose timeless architecture meshed with that of his dimensional designs, complemented by an experimental, bare-bones performance by the percussionist Lesley Mok. She walked down (or around) the runway herself—sitting at its center, rousing the audience with a riff, and signaling the start of the models’ procession.

The clothes, according to FFORME’s show notes, were an exercise in observation: Asymmetrical column gowns mimicked a “breeze rippling across the sails of a fishing boat”; silk lamé sets channeled the “sun glinting atop the water’s surface.” These garments were precise in the way that nature is precise: easily, elusively. Monochrome basics—tunics, culottes, knits, and tanks in black, cream, rose, and warm brown—were layered over with raglan-sleeved coats, long cardigans, and leather hoodies. The collection was, as FFORME puts it, “a casual approach to appearing fully dressed.”

“I think our clothes come alive when you see them on a person,” Helbers said in the lead-up to the show. Like in the case of good dancers or musicians, his presentation demonstrated an essential artistic truth: The most impressive feat is making your work appear effortless before a discerning audience. “At the end of the day, what I try to do is break down rules, and with that comes a different way of dressing. There is a kind of freedom in that.”