Here’s an interesting fact about the fashion world: Have you ever wondered why New York Fashion Week takes place before fashion shows in London, Milan and Paris? Well, it all started with Helmut Lang.
In the late 1990s, New York Fashion Week used to be the last stop after European runway shows. However, Austrian designer known for his counter-cultural style, Helmut Lang changed the game. He moved his fashion line from Paris to New York and decided to show his collection ahead of the traditional schedule and this unconventional move led the entire fashion industry to do the same.
Her influence reached far beyond her time and continues to influence the fashion world today. Before Helmut Lang, clothes like jeans and parkas were just seen as everyday wear. However, when she began selling carefully designed, high-end versions of these practical essentials at her store in Soho, the simple garments were transformed into fashion statements.
In fact, some argue that the streetwear industry as we know it could not exist without Lang. For example, James Zebia, founder of Supreme, credits him as a significant source of inspiration.
Peter Doe plans to bring back Helmut’s forces
Helmut Lang’s name carries a lot of importance. It played a major role in shaping an entire era of New York fashion characterized by a simple and understated style from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
Peter Doe, who is now in charge of the brand’s creative direction, wants to revive that powerful influence. He believes the world needs Helmut’s style again.
Do was speaking to Samuel Hine from GQ about the brand and the man behind it.
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Doe shares that when the man himself left the fashion scene in 2005, the brand’s influence began to wane. Later, Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, bought the brand in 2009 and several attempts were made to creatively revive it, but they could not build a strong enough case for Helmut Lang’s relevance in the fast-changing fashion world.
Doe has a clear and practical vision for how to make the Helmut Lang name matter again. He feels that fashion has recently become overly complicated, and he believes that there is something refreshing about the simplicity, honesty and simplicity of the clothes that Helmut Lang used to make, which seems to be missing in art.
Peter Doe’s takeaway from Helmut Lang
The most important thing he noticed was that many Helmut Lang fans had a strong bond with their clothes. This was because the designer paid a lot of attention to the quality of the fabric and added small details to the clothes, such as a hidden pocket with a zipper on the trousers that only the wearer could notice.
He said that what he finds special about Helmut Lang is how people talk about their clothes, the clothes they wear, especially the parkas and jeans they wear for a long time.
During her job interview earlier this year, when the brand reached out to her, Doe wore a lucky charm that symbolizes the lasting and almost emotional connection people have with the brand. It was a pair of “very dirty” white Helmut Lang jeans. Doe explained that the jeans were already old when he bought them and that he had been wearing them regularly for 15 years.
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Peter Doe tries to reintroduce Helmut Lang to the younger generation
Doe is trying to capture Helmut Lang’s relaxed yet stylish obsession, but he does so in his own unique way. He explained that he wanted to introduce the brand to a new generation of people who might not be familiar with Helmut Lang and rekindle the love for his style and how he designed it.
Hopefully the new customer will develop an affection for these clothes, like she fell in love with her white jeans. He explained that he disliked the idea of ’elevated basics with a twist’ and that he found it amusing because Helmut Lang was probably one of the pioneers of that clothing category.
He continued that in this collection, he wants people to look at a shirt and think it’s just a regular shirt. However, when people try it on, they’ll notice it fits wonderfully, the cut is perfect, and it has the right buttons and stitching.
These are the small details that set a Helmut Lang shirt apart. Mention that they went through 30 different poplin shirts to find the perfect fabric.
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