Comeback Kid

Fashion fortunes work in mysterious ways. The ideal outcome would be to instantly break out fresh from college and continue on an upward trajectory. The alternative route would be to slow burn, turning out collections that go under the radar until finally your moment comes. Suzanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason forming the fashion duo Ostwald Helgason can tell you a thing or two about the latter. I wrote about Ostwald Helgason's work early on in my own gestating blogging days. They've been toiling away on collections in London, without the ability to show and instead working on solid stockists instead (Opening Ceremony being an early support). Then one A/W 12-3 season, Suzanne and Ingvar také the plunge, throw all their chips in and decide to show in New York as part of Milk Made (my favourite place during NYFW, no doubt about it) and suddenly the collection is lauded, desired and snapped by streetstyle biggies in the flash of a season. Ostwald Helgason is the 'new kid on the block' again, demonstrating some weird fashion American dream, whereby crossing over Stateside actually gives you more visibility because London can get crowded with an abundance of young talent.

In this particular instance of slow burning success, Ostwald Helgason partially owe their change of luck to streetstyle advocators of their clothing from the photographers that snap away to the subjects that took a fancy to the collection – the Russian set that includes Miraslava Duma, Elena Perminova and Anya Zyourova as well as Natalie Joos of Tales of Endearment (who did their casting this season). The impact of those stray photos on a slideshow can't be overemphasised. Instantly, their SS13 presentation was buzzed up, with people circling around wondering which looks would got street-shot first.

The duo didn't disappoint as they continue to work the contrast sweatshirt and kicked-out mini skirts of their resort and autumn/winter seasons into fresh colour combinations. If the sixties is pervasive at NYFW, then Suzanne and Ingvar took a different approach by being inspired by a 1967 Vogue article on the art philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody, who collected works by Matisse and Picasso. They wanted to recapture her spirit and her love of art by injecting bright hues that are saturated like late 60s/early 70s technicolour imagery. Suzanne reimagined lions, cheetahs and crocodiles as Picasso-esque illustrations and these represent the playful part of the collection. A Matisse leaf pattern also lightens the tone. These playful touches are juxtaposed against couture-esque fabrics, specially selected from Italian mills – puckered organzas, stiffened satins/silk gazars, floral laces with the addition of tech-edged textures like rubberised checkered stretch lycra and spongey netted mesh. It's the perfect push and pull between something ornate and sporty/approachable shapes that have made Ostwald Helgason's collections soar.

Suzanne and Ingvar themselves are surprised at their rejuvenated New York comeback and naturally appreciate the success even more. Victory seems all all the more sweeter and I suppose that's what makes this duo's story compelling to onlookers who might mistakenly see them as a out-of-nowhere breakout hit.































29 Replies to “Comeback Kid”

  1. I think Ostwald Helgason’s collections have become much more wearable and commercial over the years, and that’s probably why they’re only starting to be recognized as a commercial brand. They have managed to keep their joyful style and quirkiness, which is great. Some really outstanding pieces in this collection.
    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion

  2. I’m lusting over that pocket layered skirt and collared shirt in neutrals, love this post. Milk Made is amazing isn’t it? I worked with a few brands at the studio this time last year, such a perfect space for NYFW x

  3. With every beautifully framed photograph, I fell more and more in love with this outlandish yet wonderfully simplistic collection. The general shape and silhouette of the pieces are relatively modern and boxy, whilst the prints are very “old-school” and retro, providing the most delicious of contrasts.
    Best Wishes,

  4. Wow, wow, wow! What a beautiful collection! The kids are really cute and very smart. I love the fresh color combinations and can’t wait to miss that once out on sale for my kids! The outfit is really pretty. Great job!

  5. This is nice! Construction and prints are beautiful. Much more creative than many more well-known brands. Though the name is not easy for me to remember, I’ll keep an eye on it!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. I find the story very inspiring…
    I moved to London from NYC about 7 years ago and noticed how difficult it is for new talented designers to actually succeed in London. Correct me if I’m wrong but I find that there is too much politics going on here and unless you do happen to have a very famous friend who supports you, or perhaps a good family name that opens lots of doors, the real talent is so often left behind… I wish all up and coming designers lots of luck and please remember, that fashion does not end in London!
    Dominique de Merteuil

  7. Oh Miss Susie, your blog makes me remember why I love fashion again. I get so tired of the coverage that and the usual big-whigs allow but your blog always provides that refreshing jolt of much-researched verbiage. All right, I’m gushing and it’s nuts. Thanks for this review on OH. I saw the street style shots you mentioned and my curiosity was definitely ignited about the duo:)

  8. It’s interesting as you say how fashion fortunes work out. It’s so great that they’re getting the exposure they deserve now! I got one of their printed tops several years ago but thought they had dropped off the radar until I saw those amazing flower-paillettes for sale in Browns.

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