inside laura mclaws helms closet

Inside a Fashion Historian’s Vintage-Filled Closet

Let Laura McLaws Helms’ collection inspire your next thrifting session. New York.

By: Hannah Baxter
Styling: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Alec Kugler

By the time we finish raiding a fashion-lover’s closet, we consider them to be something of an expert. It would be tough to own 600 pairs of shoes and not know a thing or two about the industry. But it wasn’t until we met Laura McLaws Helms that we truly understood what it means to know *everything* about fashion. Or at least enough to fill your home with floor-to-ceiling fashion books, magazines, and, of course, really, really good clothes.

McLaws Helms is a bonafide historian, after all—she got her MFA in fashion and textiles studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and worked towards a PhD from the London College of Fashion—and has consulted on various exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world. Intimidating much? Wait until you see her closet.

After marveling at her stunning Brooklyn apartment (it used to be part of a seminary, which makes for some unique architecture), we got down to the business of her wardrobe. Imagine billowing silk gowns, embroidered separates, and sequins and sparkle of all varieties. Essentially, every drool-worthy silhouette from the late ’60s and early ’70s is accounted for in her carefully-tended-to collection. Add to that a plethora of mini beaded purses and an affection for shoe designer Terry de Havilland (otherwise known as the rock ’n’ roll cobbler of the 1970s), and you have the makings for a painfully glamorous sense of personal style.

Check it all out below, and learn where McLaws Helms source her pieces, her take on the difference between British and American style, and how she managed to actually Marie Kondo her closet.