EVERYTHING WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE NEW HELMUT LANG
The long-awaited Helmut Lang revival is not just in the building; it took the elevator up and is impatiently rapping its fingers on a nearby desk waiting for you to grab lunch. With Dazed EIC Isabella Burley now wearing the – undoubtedly sleek – hat of Editor-In-Residence, a new dawn has settled to draw fresh eyes to the legendary brand that its originator stepped away from 12 years ago. The Helmut Lang ecosystem of 2017 will contain a rollcall of guest designers among other ambitious projects, and first up is Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver – who also sports a terrific mirrorball earpiece in a newly unveiled campaign. Lensed by Ethan James Green, the first images feature “an intergenerational cast of progressive thinkers, new faces and creative icons” so here’s what you need to know about this marvelous renaissance.
Shayne Oliver for Helmut Lang
Taking the work of the iconic self-taught Viennese designer, now working as a visual artist tucked away in East Hampton, and re-imagining his legacy while never losing sight of what made the original great is the daunting task set upon today’s Lang Gang. Think unflinching modernism with a slightly grim sense of humour.
Nicky Rat for Helmut Lang
First to be the heralds of Helmut Lang 2.0 (let’s gloss over some less memorable earlier reincarnations) are Chris Kraus (writer of “I Love Dick”), Little Miss Flint Mari Copeny (a true young force and side-eye inspiration), Alek Wek (the original Lang muse), Traci Lords, artist Nicky Rat, uninymic model Dara and 14-year-old Japanese IG stunt sensation Yoshi. Also included are masters like Larry Clark, Kembra Pfahler, Unlocking The Truth, Alanie Quinones, Aurel Haize Odogbo, Grace Gee, Ian Isiah, Gogo Graham and Sohyun Jun. Using the format of early Lang campaigns, the cast is decked out in AW17, Resort ’18 and Men’s Resort ’18 Helmut Lang designed in part by Shayne Oliver and showing flashes of (nipple-baring) archive inspiration. Casting trans models of colour such as Dara, Gogo and Aurel is a welcome flash of visibility to counter the current news cycle of despair. Add to that the official reinstatement of the original Helmut Lang logo and sardonic slogans peppered around the website like “The only COMPANY that cares for YOU” and “Impress your parents, wear Helmut Lang” and you’ve got a heady mix there for true acolytes. And there are many.
Yoshi for Helmut Lang
If you hear Helmut Lang spoken of too gushingly, whosoever’s talking is probably not doing enough because this man was responsible for originating an entirely new way of designing, propelling an architectural approach to minimalism that inspired generations of designers, incorporating denim and bondage gear in a way no one else was. And those clothes are as covetable today as ever. He even pioneered the concept of live internet fashion show streams in 1998!
Additionally, the upcoming “Seen By: The Artist Series” will leave the image of Lang in the hands of 12 different artists over the course of a year. The first series of names that have been announced are Leigh Ledare, Carolee Schneemann, archive Peter Hujar, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, archive Mark Morrisroe, Boris Mikhailov, Martine Syms, Walter Pfeiffer, Carrie Mae Weems, Keizo Kitajima, Adrienne Salinger and Andrew Miksys. The collaborations will include posters, t-shirts, art objects and special items the proceeds of which will be partially donated to a charity picked by the artist. Walter Pfeiffer’s contribution will be the first in line to become available in October. This concept is based on Helmut Lang’s original artist collaboration with greats like Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer.
Louise Bourgeois by Bruce Weber for Helmut Lang
Jenny Holzer for Helmut Lang Fragrances
We can also look forward to the Helmut Lang Re-Edition line containing pieces from the archive which will be reissued in rotation, allowing you to get your hands on that skeletal cutout cardi or impeccably tailored white shirt you were too teenage broke to get in the 90s or early 2000s. Volume 1 will contain 15 items and launch September 5. Four months later, Volume 2 will be released. As you wait, indulge in this glorious SS96 show report by a young Tim Blanks.
But of course, most of the anticipation is reserved for the designer residency. Shayne Oliver will make his mark on September 11 during New York Fashion Week with the collection named “HELMUT LANG SEEN BY SHAYNE OLIVER”. Lang famously swapped Paris for New York in 1998 resulting in a total shift in the fashion week calendar and which also is the exact antithesis of what many New York designers are doing today. In any case, Shayne Oliver is sure to bring back the uncompromising rawness to a brand he himself was inspired by for Hood By Air, a noteworthy symbol of the ouroboros we call fashion inspiration.
Photographer: Ethan James Green
Editor-In-Residence: Isabella Burley
Styling: Robbie Spencer
Hair: Holli Smith
Make-Up: Kanako Takase
Set Design: Julia Wagner
Creative Advisory: Framework