Laura McLaws Helms
Fashion/Cultural Historian, Writer & Consultant





'Thea Porter: 70s Bohemian Chic', Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Curated by Laura McLaws Helms

Exhibition Dates: 6 February – 3 May 2015
The first-ever exhibition on the fashion and interior design of Thea Porter (1927–2000) who pioneered bohemian chic in the 1960s and 1970s. Her shop in Greek street, Soho opened in 1966 and instantly drew a rock and film star crowd of clients from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway and Barbara Streisand. The retrospective covers Porter’s life and career from her early years in Jerusalem and Damascus, Beirut in the 1950s, Soho in the 1960s, and New York, Los Angeles and Paris in the 1970s. Featuring outfits worn by some of the world’s best-dressed women, the exhibition explores the influence of Middle Eastern and North African textiles and culture on 20th century fashion and interior design. Highlights include Porter’s seven signature looks: the Abaya & Kaftan; the Gipsy dress; the Faye dress; the Brocade-panel dress; the Wrap-over dress; the Chazara jacket; and the Sirwal skirt, as well as important fashion photography from the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily.

'Beauty CULTure', Annenberg Space for Photography (2011)

Laura was the assistant curator for 'Beauty CULTure' (2011), a record-breaking exhibition at the Annenberg Center for Photography in Los Angeles.

Winner of the 2011 Lucie Award for Curator of the Year


'Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced', Museum of the City of New York (2013)

Laura was a research assistant for the Museum of the City of New York's exhibition on the American designer, Stephen Burrows.


'Vivienne Westwood 1980-89', Museum at FIT (2011)

Laura worked as the lead researcher on the Museum at FIT exhibition on the provocative British designer, Vivienne Westwood.


'The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion', Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009)

Working as a research assistant for Kohle Yohannan, co-curator of the Costume Institute's exhibition, 'Model as Muse', Laura researched and co-wrote the model bios that appeared in the exhibition.