Photography by: Jon Shapely
Local artisan boot maker Joshua Bingaman and his team over at Helm Handmade held a party last night at The W showcasing their new Fall 2011 lineup, and they did it the only way they know how—in style.
Folks were invited onto the patio at Trace to shop for hand picked favorites, ranging from never before seen prototypes to exclusives from their new Fall lineup. Guests were encouraged to sip on the Helm handmade cocktail: a fairly modest affair consisting of bourbon, a Texas orange and a splash of ginger. Certainly a nice avocation unto itself, but not as exciting as the new boots guests were trying on or the sneak peek we got at the Spring 2012 lineup.
So what’s new for Fall? “On a lot of our classic and best-selling styles, we just added some colors and changed some soles,” explains assistant designer James Boone. Eying a shoe on the table, she picks one up and explains a little bit about it: “This one probably did the best for the fall collection. It’s basically a dress shoe with a rubber sole. Which is what Helm does… the handmade aspect on top of a more casual sole. It’s made with sort of an edge.” For the man who demands a traditional commendation but wants it with a modern bent, Helm is your brand.
While shoes are selling and polite hostesses walk through the mingling crowd offering crab cakes and fried ravioli, Bingaman himself stops over to explain some of what inspired his upcoming Spring collection. “I’m really getting tired of the Americana thing. I’m loving that spat of a phase right now, where every time when I’m in New York, guys are dressed really dapper.” So maybe it’s time to ditch the plaid and suspenders, and trim up the beard, fellas.
As we flip through a zine full of pages with models sporting Helm’s Spring collection, he continues about a rebirth of his original collection: “For the Spring season, I made everyone at Helm watch the movie Swing Kids, and then watch Bullitt,” he says energetically. “Look at what they’re wearing [in Swing Kids] – their shoes, their scarves, their sweaters – and then watch Steve McQueen and his turtlenecks and how he’ll wear black with a camel coat.” A good blend of casual and dress, certainly. And this approach is quickly making Helm footwear highly sought after.
Helm Handmade is designed in Austin, crafted in Istanbul and made with leathers from all over Europe. The Fall collection can be found in stores in two weeks, and Stag will be carrying six of the styles. The rest are available at the Helm showroom downtown.