Laura McLaws Helms is a fashion/cultural historian and writer based in New York. With a particular interest in fashion, culture, women’s issues, design and magazines in the twentieth century, Laura’s works delves into all of these areas and illuminates their intersections. She acts as an exhibition curator and design consultant to stylists, editors and designers within the film, advertising 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. In addition, she has written for a number of publications including Vogue Arabia, Lula, Tank, and 25, while also collaborating with advertising companies (like Chandelier Creative) and fashion websites (like Heroine) on a number of fashion and pop culture-centric articles and talks.
As the co-founder of the magazine and website, LADY, Laura uses her deep understanding of cultural history to create intriguing editorials and short films that interweave the psychological narratives of fashion, photography, cinema and advertising. Along with her partner in LADY, last year Laura founded the clothing line Marshmallow.
Laura’s Instagram (@laurakitty) 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, her feed acts as an 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. Laura is hired by brands and media companies to create content for their social media.
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.
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. Laura was also the Consulting Archivist for the band Duran Duran—designing and organizing the archive of their three decade long career in music.