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The fall 2023 Fforme presentation took place at a gallery in Chelsea. It was a fitting location to showcase Paul Helbers’s approach to making clothes, which revolves around a curiosity and experimentation with architectural shapes. For this third collection, Helbers continued to expand the visual vocabulary of the brand, honing in on voluminous shapes and subtle details that elevated everyday pieces. “For me this is a metamorphosis of what we were already doing,” he said during an appointment, “Last season it was about hold and release tunics and corsets, and there was something skinny about it, and now it’s like the insect is popping out,” he added, laughing.

A cropped puffer jacket—a new category for the brand—was the perfect example of this metamorphosis. It was constructed with a subtle A-line shape that gathered into the body while standing away from it. “I wanted it to look like you don’t understand where the volume is coming from,” he explained. The raglan sleeves were puffy but still bore a distinct geometric shape while being able to lay flat against the body. On the back, they were carefully gathered into the bodice, creating an effect more suited for a delicate gown than a utilitarian coat. “It took me three months to get the sleeves on,” said Helbers.

A car coat in a decadent shade of chocolate brown looked utilitarian from the front and on the back had an oversized ruffle whose shape was reminiscent of a capelet or an expertly draped scarf. A “vivid blue” cape was a rectangle with a rounded incision cut along one of the long sides. “The references of the body together with abstract volume, that’s what defines elegance,” said Helbers while expertly wrapping the cape around the model’s body. A simple pair of leather pants had an intricately gathered waist, made up of 40 darts, for a swirling paper bag-waist effect.

Knitwear got a similar treatment. A brown raglan sleeve short sleeve sweater had a gentle sloping shape thanks to special stitches that ensured the shape stayed close to the body; a six-ply turtleneck made from black, white, and violet achieved a marled quality and was softer than soft. Meanwhile, a ¾-length sleeve tee had all the ease of a T-shirt but with slightly padded thick ribs that elevated it into something more formal.“When you wear this, it’s important because it’s like a sculpture,” said Helbers. “And a good sculpture always sits in its context. It’s about claiming the space around you.”