“No one embodies more daring and outspoken radical thinking than Helmut Lang, and I am honored to be entrusted with this new chapter and look forward to learning from him and creating vibrant and imaginative garments that Inspire people to express their individuality with even greater possibilities.” The release of this statement coincided with Peter Du himself officially taking over as Helmut Lang’s creative director on May 15. As a cutting-edge fashion designer who has captured the attention of the industry over the past five years, this Vietnamese Very little has been heard about the designer who doesn’t like to show his face, which makes him even more mysterious.
Helmut Lang’s popularity has fluctuated over the past two decades. While the brand has managed to maintain a minimalist core, its recent developments have yet to match the reputation of the founder’s time. Also, Helmut Lang’s role of controlling the creative force of design has long been vacant. Perhaps these two points are what got the industry so excited by the news of Peter Doe’s appointment. But people can’t help but wonder, can Peter Doe bring this long-dormant brand back to its former glory?
Helmut Lang’s 5 Unforgettable Moments
“If you want to know what a high-end department store will look like in half a year, look at Helmut Lang’s current design.” In the 90s, Helmut Lang was synonymous with “avant-garde”. The Austrian designer, with no professional fashion education, opened her own bespoke studio in Vienna in 1977, a success that saw Lange move to New York before founding her eponymous label in 1986.
As the name appears most frequently in archival trends in recent years, you can get a glimpse of Helmut Lang’s rich legacy to fashion history. At the same time, many pioneering creations of Helmut Lang have influenced the fashion industry till date. Here’s a rundown of Helmut Lang’s 5 memorable moments that might help you quickly understand the legendary designer.
01/ Leave the jeans in the hall of fame
Jeans, originally used as casual work clothes, began to appear frequently in fashion shows, inseparable from Helmut Lang’s promotion. In the ’90s, Helmut Lang sent his designs along with a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans to the press and buyers to show them how his collection would be worn in real life. A lover of denim, the designer has a deal with Levi’s that allows him to continue pairing his latest designs with his classic jeans.
In 1996, Helmut Lang took inspiration from the Levi’s 501 and incorporated the trouser tailoring into the classic 5-pocket jeans. In the same year, he collaborated with Italian manufacturer GTR Group SpA to establish his own jeans line, Helmut Lang Jeans. The famous “painter jeans splashed ink jeans” and other styles are still popular archive items.
02/The first designer to embrace online publishing
Helmut Lang presented 81 looks from the Autumn/Winter 1998 collection in 1998 via photographs and videos posted online and on physical CD-ROMs. Editors and buyers were able to see the details of the season, as crafted by Kirsten Owen, Tatjana Petitz and Stephen Armbruster, before visiting the showroom to see it in person.
“Fashion is a global industry, but the way we communicate is still very out of date in many ways. We are in the midst of a technological revolution. We all know it, we talk about it, but we It has to be lived. The hardest step is to do it.” This feat made Helmut Lang the first fashion designer to present his collection on the Internet.
03/ Changes to the fashion schedule in New York
In 1998, Helmut Lang moved from Paris Fashion Week to New York for the first time. But New York Fashion Week was months behind schedule for Paris, and Lange’s decision to release the collection earlier marked a major change in the fashion calendar. Following Lange’s initial runway stint, two other New York fashion giants, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, announced they were following in her footsteps, and more and more designers are changing their schedules to align with the big names. Therefore, in the spring of 1999, New York Fashion Week split, and in the fall of the same year, the New York Fashion Week schedule became the first of the four major fashion weeks.
04/ First non-American CFDA Menswear Designer Award winner
In 2000, Helmut Lang became the first non-American designer to take home the Menswear Designer of the Year trophy from the CFDA Awards, beating popular nominees Kenneth Cole and Marc Jacobs. She has also been nominated for two other awards: Womenswear Designer of the Year and Accessories Designer of the Year. Given his presence in New York, he was able to be nominated in the three main categories, even though his shows at the time were split between Paris and New York.
05/ Destroying design archives, changing artists
In 2010, a fire in SoHo, New York destroyed the fashion works created by Helmut Lang over the past 25 years, numbering up to 6,000 pieces. But the designer seemed disinterested. Not only did she donate some of the surviving specimens to 18 museums, but she also bought back the clothes she designed and threw all the items into an industrial shredder. These expensive “pieces” were recreated in 20 black pillars, making up his solo exhibition “Make It Hard”.
“I’m very serious about art, and I don’t want to be the gatekeeper of my legacy. So they have to go,” he once told The Wall Street Journal. “I don’t like to throw things away, but I have the ability to end a chapter of my life.
The darkest moment since the departure of the founder
In 1999, Prada acquired a 51% stake in Helmut Lang. Patrizio Bertelli, then at the helm of Prada, made a bold statement, “increasing Lange’s sales from $44.5 million to $139 million by 2001.” But Prada’s strength did not allow the brand to develop in a better direction, and the launched accessories and perfume series began to look boring. Suzy Menkes, a noted fashion critic, said that “after Helmut Lang handed over control of the company to Prada last year, she appears to be less avant-garde.”
In 2001, a conflict broke out between Prada and the GTR Group, resulting in a rupture of the contract between the two parties, which also led to the elimination of Helmut Lang Jeans, which accounted for half of the revenue. More insidious, Helmut Lang sold the remaining 49% to Prada in 2004, and he himself officially announced his resignation after the 2005 spring and summer series. At this point, the brand’s sales have dropped to $24.8 million.
In 2006, Link Theory acquired Helmut Lang from Prada. In 2009, UNIQLO parent company Fast Retailing Group completed its acquisition of Link Theory. After entering its own brand matrix, Fast Retailing Group took several measures to try to save Helmut Lang, but with little success. These include two joint ventures with UNIQLO in 2014 and 2022; In 2017, an editorial center system was adopted, and “DAZED” magazine editor-in-chief Isabella Burley was invited to be responsible for the creative direction, and Hood By Air founder Shayne Oliver as the first guest designer. Work done.
Perhaps due to the founder’s high degree of attachment, after Helmut Lang left, the brand was left without a leader. Once the leader of the fashion discourse, it has now been reduced to a second-tier ready-to-wear brand that hides in the discount zone year-round and has no sense of presence.
Why choose Peter Doe
Peter Do, who was born in Vietnam, immigrated to the United States at the age of 14 and won the first LVMH Graduate Award (LVMH Graduate Award) upon graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Phoebe Philo Period, and Derek Lam, and founded a personal brand by the same name in 2018.
Peter Doe, who has been stable in every way, has a beautiful resume that is popular in fashion circles, but this is not the main reason why Helmut Lang chose him, but more because of the overlap between his characteristics and the founder .
Helmut Lang’s influence is very evident throughout Peter Doe’s design. Like “Austrian Scissorhands”, Peter Doe is obsessed with black-and-white minimalist tones and photographic studies. Peter Doe himself has made no secret of his admiration for Helmut Lang, saying that Helmut Lang was one of his favorite designers during his student days. By the 2023 spring and summer series, Peter Doe has launched a men’s clothing line, dealing in men’s and women’s clothing, and also meeting Helmut Lang’s design needs.
In addition to highly similar design styles, Peter Doe is familiar with the many ways to communicate with consumers in the social media age, and the brand’s five partners all met through the social networking site Tumblr. This is very similar to Helmut Lang who pioneered the adoption of the Internet era in the early years. Furthermore, as immigrants to the metropolis of New York, both have a certain resonance in terms of cultural identity.
The reason why Peter Doe’s entrance into Helmut Lang is so attractive may be because the brand genes of the two parties are so compatible. But as a highly regarded design legend, Peter Doe still faces many of the same pressures experienced by his predecessors. A satisfactory answer can be found in Helmut Lang waiting for this young designer.