Easy meets sexy and goes global. That’s the concept behind Michelle Helene, a new brand about to become every woman’s favorite line. The designer’s sculptural yet classic pieces tell a tale of finding your inner self while exploring the world at large. It’s not about wearing a costume; it’s about realizing who you are.
“I find inspiration all around me on a daily basis, including everything from nature, art, museums, music and traveling to friends and family,” Michelle says. “My inspiration is never rooted in one thing. For each collection, I look at everything around me and take it in and use it to create either fabric, color story, or design.” Though she does love New York and the rush the city provides.
Launched in Fall 2014, Michelle Helene focuses on an organic design process, eschewing the usual mood board in favor of weaving fabrics in Taos with her brother, Alex. From there, the form of the collection takes place. For Michelle, who studied at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and worked with various contemporary brands before launching her own line, it’s important to have a personal connection with her clothes and fabrics.
“I take special care in sourcing my fabrics each season. I often use organic cottons, some of which feature yarns that have been hand-dyed by women in South Africa, a Buddhist nun from Taos, and some of the recycled jersey yarn was made from jersey waste from the mills.”
That careful touch is apparent in the bespoke collection, which is full of stunningly beautiful silhouettes, well-crafted folds, and pieces that any woman around the world can wear, whether it’s a dress, trousers, a cape, or blouse. “The fit is really important, for a lot of different bodies. I have a certain clientele, and I want to make everyone satisfied, have that personal connection.”
Equally key to Michelle are the ethics behind the company. In a time when fast fashion rules the runways, Michelle is adamant about contributing to the betterment of the world, whether it’s via fair trade, good working conditions in factories, or ethical sourcing of fabrics, and the entire collection is made in the U.S.
“It’s very important to me, on a personal level, that everyone in the company or the companies I work with have good ethics. I spend a lot of time meeting everyone and seeing the working environments. I recognize this as a huge problem in our industry and I don’t want to be a part of it. I hope that I can set a good example, if it’s not too late.”
But the end goal of course is to make sure you love the clothes as much as Michelle does. “Wearability is always important, you can’t feel sexy or confident if you don’t feel like yourself. I believe this goes back to making pieces that my customer sees as an extension of themselves, I want them to feel unique but natural all at the same time.”