Since Charlotte Olympia launched their highly popular “Pandora” box clutches, a plexiglass frenzy sparked off within the fashion industry. A material hardly viewed as luxurious, plexiglass soon became one of the most favored materials for designers to use in high-end products. Fellow Greek handbag designer Helen Heliotou
took things one step further, combining plexiglass with premium leather in stand-out, statement pieces; her first collection turned heads thanks to its minimal lines and glassy colors. In the interview below, Helen discusses her unique handbag range and dreams for her brand.
Were you always interested in becoming a designer?
I have always found the fashion world charming! With a background on marketing and having worked as an executive in a leading cosmetics company, I sought to combine my professional experience with my passion and exploit my creative spirit. Becoming a designer was my way to enter this fascinating world hoping to leave my own personal footprint.
Why did you choose to focus particularly on designing handbags?
Handbags serve a dual role for women; they are used both as fashion and as functional accessories. A handbag is an essential but can also make a daytime or a glamorous outfit at once. I see it as a challenge to design a piece that is both practical and statement, and this energizes my creativity.
What is your main source of inspiration?
Inspiration is the soul of creation and is all around us – even within us. You just have to be open-minded, willing to see through things, situations, emotions and let your spirit free to wander.
Potential source of inspiration can be a walk by the sea or the city center on a Sunday, a journey, an unusual object that catches my attention, an odd color, a special material, a moment with my loved ones…
Plexiglas® seems to have a major moment right now. In your opinion, what are the properties that make it so special?
My first and most determining experience with this special material that soon became my inspiration, was next to my husband, specializing in exclusive Plexiglas® creations.
If I had just five words to describe it, these would be warm, bright, luxurious, lovable and unique! There is no comparison with other “classic” materials, used in bag manufacturing. Having its own character, it stands in a sole category by itself, both in terms of appearance and properties. It is true that the particularities of Plexiglas® are not widely known. Among the most important ones is that it has to be formed and finished by hand.
Is there a hidden story behind the “2H” in your brand name?
“2H” originally comes from the initials of my name. However, it represents much more than that. “2H” blends two materials – Plexiglas® and leather – two textures – frosty and velvet – two worlds – futuristic and classic – in absolute harmony aiming to make a new stylistic statement.
How would you describe your handbag range and what do you think makes it unique?
Luxury aesthetics, focus on detail, ergonomic handcrafted construction, best materials and, above all, the characteristic mix of Plexiglas® and leather encapsulate the “2H” philosophy.
How long does it usually take for a handbag to be crafted?
Plexiglas® bag manufacturing is a demanding process that requires a lot of work, specialized technical knowledge, experience, special machinery, but mainly love for the material. All these are absolutely necessary to achieve perfection in detail. I am proud to say that each piece is exclusively handcrafted and that makes it truly unique, with personality and signature!
How is your latest collection different from your first?
Following “Elena,” my introductory collection, I turned my attention to the launch of a five-piece collection called “Daphne.” The latter embodies everything the brand stands for, while introducing new designs, patterns and color combinations. Recently, influenced by the worldwide cities-mania, I initiated my third collection named “Cities,” with a clutch portraying Paris, the city synonymous with elegance and fashion. More items under the same concept will launch soon.
What is your ultimate goal for your brand?
I have always found it important how a design can be created in order to fit best the needs of its user, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
My vision when designing a handbag is to make the difference. I would consider it a success if every woman carrying one of my creations felt the values and dynamics of the item that will ultimately make her really stand out.