A First Glimpse at the New Helmut Lang


During New York Fashion Week in February, Helmut Lang showed a back-to-basics collection for Spring 2017. The range was put together by temporary creative director, Katayone Adeli. The designer developed a cult following for her tailored pants in the late ‘90s. Her tenure has since ended and the brand has tasked Dazed & Confused’s editor-in-chief Isabella Burley with its Fall 2017 collection. Her title at the company is temporary editor-in-residence. In the unusual role, she will oversee the house’s creative endeavors for the coming months and collaborate with the brand’s new permanent women’s wear designer Selina Elkuch on a range of exciting, yet-to-announced projects.

When Lang’s eponymous label was at it’s height in the late 80’s and 90’s, it was celebrated as the pinnacle of minimalist fashion. The designer was know for his sharp lines, precise tailoring, graceful silhouettes, and for being one of the first to use high tech fabric. In the 2000s, fashion’s penchant for maximalism led to consecutive years of declining sales for the brand. By 2004, Helmut departed his own label leaving it in the hands of Prada, which owned it at the time.

With Helmut out of the way, Prada sold the company to a Japanese corporate conglomerate in 2006. Over the past ten years, the new owners have retooled the house into watered down version of its original iteration. Helmut Lang became a mid-range, trend-driven, and commercial clothier. Less than six months ago it could be found in almost any department store in America, next to other contemporary labels like Vince and Theory.

In a 180-degree pivot from that strategy, Burley has lined up an exciting series of artistic efforts that will be rolling out over the coming year. Starting in October, 12 visual artists will be brought in for special month-long collaborations. The merch will include posters, and tees. A portion of the proceeds from each item sold will be donated to a charity of the artist’s choice. Burley has also curated a special reissue of Helmut Lang Classics; the first collection will be available in September.

Most exciting of all, the editor-in-residence has inaugurated the “Helmut Lang Design Residency.” Hood By Air designer Shayne Oliver will be the first to make a capsule collection, which will show at New York Fashion Week on September 11. It will be part of an ongoing series of one-off designer partnerships, with the goal of perpetually evolving and reimaging Helmut’s legacy.

For her first major project, released today, Burley came together with photographer Ethan James Green on a campaign for the Fall 2017 season. The six ad images feature progressive creatives from around the world, dressed in the new Helmut Lang.

Scroll through to see the full campaign below.


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