Laura McLaws Helms is a fashion writer and historian currently living between London, New York and Los Angeles. Specializing in the influence of vintage clothing on contemporary design, Laura acts as an exhibition curator and design consultant to stylists, editors and designers within the film and fashion industries.
Laura curated an exhibition, Thea Porter: 70s Bohemian Chic, at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London (2015), and wrote an accompanying monograph, Thea Porter: Bohemian Chic, published by V & A Publications.
As the co-founder and creative director of the fashion and art magazine, LADY, Laura uses her deep understanding of cultural history to create intriguing editorials that move beyond the two-dimensional —interweaving the psychological narratives of fashion, photography, film and advertising.
Laura’s blog, Sighs and Whispers, is a compendium of imagery and commentary—primarily fashion, beauty and design— that draws thousands of viewers a day and enjoys a cult-like following among fashion, media, and advertising insiders. Drawing on Laura’s experience as a branding/strategist consultant, Sighs and Whispers was created as a global arena to interface with like-minded industry professionals who share a deep knowledge of design, popular culture and photography as well as an intimate understanding of the processes and machinations that help to create, record, and influence the pop stream.
Ms. Helms worked towards her PhD at London College of Fashion and holds a Master’s Degree in Fashion History, Theory & Museum Practice from The Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as a BFA from The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in Photography and Imaging. An accomplished photographer in her early career, Laura worked for several years alongside renowned architectural photographer, Robert Polidori, while developing her own portfolio of psychologically probing interior portraits.
From 2008-2009 Laura’s research consultancy credits included exhibitions with award-winning curator, Kohle Yohannan, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Model as Muse, 2009) and The Museum of The City of NY, (Valentina, 2009) —both of which were accompanied by publications from Yale University Press and Rizzoli, respectively. In 2010, she acted as Lead Researcher for a retrospective on British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood at The Museum at FIT (Vivienne Westwood, 2011). Simultaneously, Laura worked as Assistant Curator for Beauty CULTure at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles (2011)—a provocative, award-winning exhibition that explored the effect of advertising on the lives of real women—which broke attendance records and was awarded Curator and Exhibition of the Year at the 2011 Lucie Awards.
She has published a series of articles exploring the status-laden costumes (and social impact) of the 1980s hit television show, Dynasty. Laura is a regular contributor to several fashion journals, including Fashion Theory, Fashion Projects and Worn Through.
Laura successfully completed a 15-hour course and examination on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the Congressionally-recognized set of appraisal standards promulgated by The Appraisal Foundation: completed on June 29, 2013, effective through June 29, 2015.
Laura was also the Consulting Archivist for the band Duran Duran — designing and organizing the archive of their three decade long career in music.