In March, Helmut Lang’s chief executive Andrew Rosen announced major shakeups to the brand. He appointed Isabella Burley, who is also the editor-in-chief at Dazed Magazine, as the brand’s editor-in-residence. Helmut Lang also tapped into to Hood By Air’s head designer Shayne Oliver to create a special collection for the brand. The company is reaching for its original roots in the bold.
Helmut Lang recently launched a new website and social media account. There is an incredible campaign available via their Instagram shot by the legendary photographer Ethan James Green; the model lineup is just as good, and involves the likes of photographer Larry Clark, performance artist Kembra Ffahler, musician Ian Isa, metal band Unlocking the Truth, adult film star turned cult actress Traci Lords, model Alek Wek, Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny aka Little Miss Flint, street cast models Dara, Yoshi and Nicky Rat, Alanie Quinones, Grace Gee and Aurel Haize, and Shayne Oliver himself. The campaign was styled by Dazed creative Robbie Spencer. If it’s relevance they are after, the team they have assembled is sure to get them there.
In 1999, Helmut Lang, the designer, lost creative control over his own brand when Prada bought 51% of the company shares. Lang walked away from fashion in 2005 and Prada quickly sold the brand to Link Theory holdings, a Japanese conglomerate that owns Uniqlo. With the designer went the brand’s sense of cool — Lang had ingenious ways of bringing bondage, work wear sensibilities, and minimalist silhouettes to high fashion. His ideas still constantly echo throughout runways today.
Shayne Oliver feels like the right guy to bring the brand back to its innovative status. With no real concern for the gender of garments, Oliver’s own line, Hood by Air, mixes fetish, club wear, and high fashion while harnessing the power of streetwear. Since its inception in 2006, Hood by Air has gained both underground approval and critical acclaim — it is the only authentic streetwear line that has taken home a CDFA Swarvoski Menswear Award. While its collections are dazzling and hyped, the importance of Hood by Air lies in its ability to break down identities of its wearers. It will be exciting to see what Oliver creates with the infamous and ever copied Helmut Lang archive.
Helmut Lang has announced two more upcoming creative projects. The first, Helmut Lang Re-Edition, will reissue important heritage works: a series of fifteen pieces will be dropping every four months beginning this coming September. The second project will show Helmut rekindle its affair with the art world — previous partnerships have included prominent artists Robert Mapplethorpe and Louise Boureouis. Every month of the coming year, a new artist will release limited-edition posters, t-shirts, and other products with the brand.
Shayne Oliver’s collection, HELMUT LANG SEEN BY SHAYNE OLIVER, will debut on Monday, September 11th during New York Fashion Week. The collection will include men’s and women’s clothing as well as accessories. From what is already available, it looks like the collection is going to be incredible.