To Helena Stuart, the heart shape is a symbol of love, life, and passion. It is Helena’s passion that transformed a childhood collection into a flourishing and influential career in design. She has contributed indispensable innovations to women’s intimate apparel, and initiated a broader concept of its fashion and styling. This significant signature eventually developed into Helena’s celebrated trademark, inner outerwear.
Helena opened Only Hearts in 1978 on Columbus Avenue in New York City. The boutique was an exhibition of all things heart-shaped, from hand-painted socks and t-shirts to bath soaps, antiques, jewelry, and, of course, lingerie. Its uniqueness caught the attention of the neighborhood and the newspapers; soon Only Hearts was designated a shop for the shameless romantic, a Mecca for lover’s and a Valentine’s paradise. Hipsters and celebrities alike flocked in for a piece of the passion.
Sensing an opportunity for further expression and exploration, Helena began designing her own line of intimate apparel - pushing the parameters of their purpose to meet the modern woman’s needs. With a toddler and newborn by her side, and a shop to run, she managed to cut and sew samples on her living room floor, giving rise to the concept of inner outerwear, which she trademarked in 1980. As her own best advertisement, Helena layered bras and camisoles as shirts, suggesting her customers do the same. In the process she sowed the seeds that Madonna would reap when she so famously wore lingerie as outerwear, and turned popular culture onto the fresh fashion.
Today Helena Stuart for Only Hearts can be found in every major magazine, on every major celebrity, and at specialty shops and finer department stores throughout the world. The Only Hearts retail shops have also continued to expand: the original boutique is entering its 26th year on Columbus Avenue; a second location in NYC can be found in the heart of NoLiTa. There are additional boutiques in Santa Monica, California, and Rome, Italy.
Helena continues to develop and refine the Only Hearts concept - obsessively tuned into the quality and humor of her design and product mix. Her upstanding philosophy for fashion, business, and life is self-evident, even down to her frequent use of earth-friendly fabrics. She is the living manifestation of the familiar saying “all it takes is a little heart.”
Helena’s life partner for 30 years, Jonathan, writer and producer, was the ideal house-husband of the 80’s raising the couple’s two children. Son Cary continues on the creative path as a filmmaker, and daughter Kaya has become an integral part of team Only Hearts.
ApparelIntimates & Underwear, Shirts & Tops, Pants & Bottoms, Dresses
134 134 West 37th Street
New York, NY US