Icelandic fashion designer Helga Lilja Magnúsdóttir is the founder and creative voice behind Helicopter, a contemporary boutique High Street fashion label. The foundations of which are centered in comfort, simple and flattering silhouettes, as well as beautiful textile treatments and designs fueled by a wide range of intriguing sources of inspiration.
From the unparalleled beauty of Icelandic nature, to the music and artwork of her mother and grandmother, Helga Lilja sees inspiration in many forms, and her creativity manifests itself in the beautiful, artistically elegant yet simple garments that comprise her seasonal collections. Since its inception, the brand has grown and developed considerably, transcending borders to become available in multiple locations across Iceland, and across the World; in Manchester, Berlin, Rome, Los Angeles and Japan.
We are so excited to be receiving some pieces from the new collection, available for pre order on LastaShop.com starting tomorrow, Friday, May 29th!
We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Helga Lilja some questions about her upcoming collection, her past experiences in design and her love of fashion and creativity. Here is what she had to share with us!
What sparked your interest in fashion and design?
– When I was 16 I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear. No one seemed to make anything too my liking. I started making my own clothes and luckily I was in that kind of school in Iceland that kids dressed unique, I sometimes made quite weird stuff!
What inspired the concept and direction behind your most recent collection?
– The last two collections were both inspired by the same bird. A beautiful Asian duck called Mandarin duck. This bird is really colorful and eye catching and has amazing prints hidden in his feathers. Last winter collection was really colorful and the print quite crazy but this summer collection is much more toned down and black and white. I simply was not over the bird after one collection – and am still head over heels with it but enough is enough.
How would you describe your main sources of inspiration in general? Is there a theme or concept you find is present throughout all of your collections?
– Well, when thinking of it there is a definite pattern that proves hard to shake and that is drawing inspiration from wilderness. Animals and nature captivate me along with my family and loved ones. I am blessed with really strong female figures in my family and have been greatly inspired by them over the years.
My newest collection though…. the one still taking shape in my head, seems to want to introduce a new twist. But nothing is certain so I am not going panic just yet.
How would you characterize or describe the woman that you design for? What are her style and attitude?
– I design for me, mostly. I know I have found good inspiration when I can visualize a garment in my mind and know I really want it.
Then when I sit down to draw I think of what feels good, not only for me but for the women I want wearing my clothes. Until now my clothes have been very standout-ish. Screamingly colorful and the prints, of late at least, very crazy so the women that wear my design are no wallflowers. They do not hide and are proud of themselves and their choices in fashion.
Do you approach design differently than how you dress yourself
– I have to. If I would design the whole collection only for me then the diversity of garments would be much scarcer. Also when designing for a brand like mine you have to be a bit practical. No one likes having to take all of their garments to the dry cleaners, I sure as …. do not like to!
How has your work and style developed or evolved since you began designing?
– As much as a newborn develops and evolves in four and a half years.
A LOT!! I have changed very much in these years myself so my creations have changed from the patterns to the prints and color choices and now, soon to be announced, the name!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned thus far throughout your career in fashion?
– To step back when I face a problem. Not to panic and feel all is lost.
This business is hard and I tend to be dramatic…. difficult mix there if you want to keep your sanity!
Is there any garment or collection you’ve designed over the years that stands out as your favourite? If so, which one?
My newest collection the AW15/16 is my favorite right now. This is the first collection where nature had no part in the inspiration what so ever. This time it is my ex boyfriends art. He approached me with the idea of making prints out of his paintings and I found it a very interesting angle to work with, so personal and different. We finally became friends again after many years, which is wonderful! It was a challenge to take on and it helped me grow as a designer. I absolutely loved the conceptual work involved and the path it took Helicopter on, as a label.
Favorite garment, how ever, is the “Rolling around” silk bomber jacket. It is an almost neon green bomber jacket and the print I made from moss that is found in the highlands of Iceland. This bomber I have almost not taken off since I got the sample in my hands. Absolute love.
What are you excited or fascinated by at the moment? How has that fed into or influenced your work?
– At the moment I am fascinated by sea and one of its habitants in particular. I recently moved to Berlin and am in love with the city…hopefully you will follow me long enough to see where these inspirations are taking me.
What words of wisdom would you share with young and aspiring designers?
– Nothing ever seems enough. Maybe that is because it never is.
Thank you so much to Helga Lilja for sharing her thoughts and amazing collections with us! We’re head over heels for your latest work, and absolutely cannot wait to see what you dream up next!
Check back with us here at Lasta tomorrow, and pre order your favorites from this latest collection!