Helmut Lang, a name that has resonated through the fashion world with a legacy of industrial, ’90s-defining minimalism, is experiencing a rebirth in the Spring/Summer 2024 collection. The renowned brand, under the innovative vision of designer Peter Do, unveiled a collection that pays homage to its past while establishing new building blocks for its future. Amid the ’90s nostalgia that has swept the fashion industry, this revival couldn’t be more relevant. “I’m reintroducing the brand for a new generation,” Do stated with determination.
Peter Do, a designer admired for his unique voice and authentic love for Helmut Lang, took the reins of the brand with a vision to not only honor its past but also to redefine it for a new generation. The Lower East Side show brought high anticipation, with attendees eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the next chapter in the brand’s journey. Respect for Helmut Lang’s design legacy, marked by its utilitarian approach, unconventional materials, and renegade spirit, runs deep. However, Do acknowledged the need for a fresh perspective, “We want to move forward,” he emphasized.
Despite his initial hesitation in accepting the position, Do felt he could do justice to the brand’s legacy. His personal collection of vintage Helmut Lang pieces, including the cult-favorite painted jeans, served as a foundation for the new collection. While he didn’t go through archives, he was inspired by some of his own vintage pieces and the broader ethos of the brand. The collaboration with Vietnamese poet Ocean Vuong added a contemporary artistic element reminiscent of Lang’s collaborations with Jenny Holzer and others. Do noted, “It’s a nod to old Helmut, the way he reached into different aspects of art, music culture, to tell the bigger story about the clothes.”
For Do, this collection was not only a tribute to the brand’s past but also a reflection of his personal journey as an immigrant and a queer man in New York. He infused the brand’s utilitarian DNA with his own experiences, using seatbelts as stripes on tuxedo pants and black blazers as a metaphor for freedom and luxury. He recalled his move to Philadelphia from Vietnam and the significance of cars as a symbol of freedom. The text on t-shirts, “Your car was my first room; our clothes on the floor like stepped-on flowers,” spoke to themes of sexual freedom as well.
The collection featured solid suiting, with black vest, high-waist trousers, and black organza suiting as highlights. Do expressed the desire to focus on foundational pieces, ensuring functional, accessible luxury. The Helmut Lang taxi ad prints offered a retro touch, while color-blocked jersey pieces and a bubble hem leather dress brought a contemporary, fun element to the collection. Though Do acknowledged the collection’s emphasis on foundational pieces, he hinted at more experimentation in future collections.
The Helmut Lang Spring/Summer 2024 collection marked a pivotal moment in the brand’s journey. Peter Do’s innovative vision and respect for the brand’s legacy culminated in a collection that balanced homage to the past with a fresh perspective for the future. Through his personal experiences and artistic collaborations, Do succeeded in reintroducing the brand to a new generation, capturing the indie spirit that once defined Helmut Lang while incorporating contemporary elements that resonate today. With a fan club ready to embrace the new Helmut and the support of Fast Retailing, the brand is poised for success in this new chapter.
© Photos: Helmut Lang
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