A few months ago, Helmut Lang’s management announced that the brand, after years of being in crisis, was back. The re-launch is well underway: a new homepage, a new Social Media strategy and campaigns that remind us of Helmut Lang from the 90s. A revival extraordinaire.
The Austrian Helmut Lang, who stopped running the creative branch of the brand over ten years ago, became an international sensation in the 1990s. His minimal and timeless creations have thrilled fashion critics and lovers all over the globe. The designer and artist has left his mark on the fashion world in his own way and was often compared to the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamato. His drafts were puristic and he didn’t follow any trends. However, 2005 hit like a rock: Helmut Lang backed out of all things related to the brand and then the turbulent times began. In 2010 the men’s line was taken off the market. This was a great shock for all Helmut Lang fans. Since 2014 things have been going uphill and the newest concept is very promising.
What is to be expected? Isabella Burley, the editor-in-chief of Dazed & Confused, was named “Editor-in-Residence” by Helmut Lang and thus is responsible for all things related to the visual representation of the brand. Hood by Air-Designer Shayne Oliver has been committed to creating a new men’s and women’s collection (“HELMUT LANG SEEN BY SHAYNE OLIVER”), which will be presented at New York Fashion Week this coming September. In addition to that there will be no permanent chief designer; a completely new overall concept that could work.
Apart from personnel changes, Ethan James Green, the photographer of the shot campaign, deserves attention. The photographer portrays models such as activist Alek Wek, actress Traci Lords, film director Larry Clark and Helmut Lang’s guest designer Shayne Oliver. However, this extremely successful campaign is not the only novelty Helmut Lang has to offer. With “Seen By: The Artist Series”, the brand has promoted 12 artists – the founder’s influence thankfully still does seem to exist – to appear on different t-shirts, posters and other products. The Swiss artist and photographer Walter Pfeiffer opens with an inspiration of the 80s art scene. Then follow further artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Martine Syms and Andrew Miksys.
The creative minds at Helmut Lang have a lot planned for the brand. They seem to have realized that the label can only be successful if they stay true to the founder’s style. Combining art and fashion is the right move and looks good on the brand. Isabella Burley and Shayne Oliver are two visionaries that were added to the team, who know exactly what today’s fashion generation wants and needs to play in the big leagues again. September 11will show how the most important part of the new concept, the collection, is received by critics and fans. We can hardly wait. Karim