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Helder Diego F/W 2016

Toronto Fashion Week In Focus.

Fusing glam and grunge, Helder Diego’s army of chic rockers stormed the Toronto Fashion Week runway to a fittingly nineties soundtrack. Kicking off their Wednesday, March 16 show with “Zombie” by The Cranberries and a few swoon-worthy blush pink looks, the design duo showcased a new side of luxurious street wear.

Mixing hard and soft elements with black sheer turtlenecks, pops of leopard print, and leather details, the Toronto-based label managed to deliver a cohesive yet surprising collection. Keeping with a colour palette of black, army green, and pink, the collection was moody and feminine.

Helder Aguiar and Diego Fuchs, the design duo behind the line, are known for their sharp-edged pieces with a European flair. Their latest showcase was full of intricately layered separates and fluid frocks. At one point, there was an audible sigh of approval from the audience as a sheer floor-grazing dress glided down the runway like liquid gold.

Adhering to the nineties grunge theme, models were styled with Doc Martins, ripped stockings, and leather chokers by Uncuffed Leather. One of the standout looks, a creamy pink blouse and trouser combo, was paired with an edgy harness. Dramatic styling aside, many of the pieces appeared to be very wearable and suited to city girls with an adventurous side.

The eyeliner was purposefully smudged to create a “hot mess” look. In fact, the main muse for Maybelline Canada’s lead make-up artist, Grace Lee, was “Courtney Love on a long, long bender.” It’s no surprise the duo’s love of nineties music was one of the key sources of inspiration for the collection.

“I love collecting nineties vinyl. Re-hearing those records brought me back to my teenage years. I love that era and thought it was time for it to come back,” says Helder Aguiar. “In this collection, we did what we wanted to do. We didn’t think about what people were going to say.”

“We’ve evolved and I think it’s a little bit sexier than what we’ve done in the past,” says Fuchs. “The inspiration was the fusion of military and romance. We wanted a nineties grunge feel but with a sense of sophistication.”

With Aguiar hailing from Azores, Portugal and Fuchs being born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the designers bring an international taste level to their pieces.

“I consider myself a product of immigration. I was given the opportunity to do what I love. Aesthetically, Europeans care a lot about how they dress. It’s not where you come from or how much money you have, it’s about looking a certain way when you walk out your front door,” says Aguiar.

For Helder Diego, city streets and runways are interchangeable; this season is all about putting on your best sheer dress, lacing up your Doc Martins and rocking out—ripped tights, and all.