Nipple pasties in New York: the return of Helmut Lang6 months, 28 days ago
Shayne Oliver, of Hood by Air, kicks off a series of guest takes on the designer whose looking has never gone away
It is 12 years since the designer left the Manhattan fashion scene in favour of life as a sculptor in upstate New York, but the Helmut Lang looking never went away.
Lang devoted the modern urban creative class its uniform: snake-hipped, flat-fronted black trousers with a tissue-thin white cotton T-shirt; a slip-up dress with biker boots; a bomber coat with paint-spattered jeans- all of these are classic Lang appears. They never went out of way, they just had a different name on the label.
Alexander Wang, Raf Simons, Vetements, Kanye West’s Yeezy: many of the most influential names of the past decades borrow something of their aesthetic and philosophy from Lang.
Hence the strategy behind the relaunch of Helmut Lang on its return to New York fashion week: let the hipster decorators who already pay homage to Lang on their own catwalks do so in-house, putting the Helmut Lang label back into the clothes and the cash back into the brand’s coffers.
Isabella Burley, the 26 -year-old British manner editor who is now leading the brand, will invite guest designers in-house for a season or two each. On Monday night, the first in the hot seat, ex-Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver, presented his take over Helmut Lang.
The challenge here is that no revamp of Helmut Lang could ever perhaps be as cool as the original Helmut Lang. Lang is the modern cool designer’s all-time favourite cool designer, the David Bowie of the manner world.
The Helmut Lang aesthetic diaspora means you can buy the look- a skinny Crombie coat, a filmy parachute silk dress, a black tank with a few fetishy straps here and there- anywhere. Helmut Lang the brand will succeed or fail on whether it makes a new generation want the Helmut Lang label and logo, as well as the looking. And that depends on building the name cool again.
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