Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012 Flower installations by florist Mark Colle
Balenciaga Fall 2013, Kristen McMenamy by Steven Klein
This message has been sitting in my inbox for quite some time. But, thank you! I haven’t posted anything in a while because all I have been doing for the past few months are stone settings and prongs and other things not worth showing.
I plan on forging a knife this summer, learning how to use Rhino to print out 3d models to cast and working with black obsidian and other stones so maybe i will post some pictures later on.
b. 1956, Austria
In the winter of 1997 in New York, at the intersection of Eight Street and Broadway, a taxi pulled up and idled impatiently at the traffic light. The taxi carried a rooftop advertisement, a red field with basic white lettering that stood in striking contrast to the bright yellowness of its body. The sign read, simply: HELMUT LANG. Who or what is Helmut Lang? There’s the rub – and the key to who and what Helmut Lang is all about. If you have to ask … Lang trades on subtlety. He is a designer of few words who has formulated his fashion philosophy in a clipped vocabulary of flat-front trousers, three-button jackets, tank and T-shirts, and slip dresses.
“My collections have always included pants, jackets, dresses,” he has said, providing no further description. These archetypal pieces, relentlessly urban, often directly inspired by the street and tailored to the realities of life at the end of the twentieth century, are the components of the modern uniform; their integrity—and no small amount of cachet— derives from their essential understatedness and their apparent simplicity. Helmut Lang came to fashion via the Viennese art world. He established his design studio in 1977 in Vienna and opened a made-to-measure shop in 1979. He held his first ready-to-wear presentation—a collection for women—in paris in 1986; he showed a menswear line in Paris the following year. Lang has taught a masterclass in fashion at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna since 1993. These are the official facts on file. Lang remains one of the most enigmatic names on the fashion roster. For him to reveal much more than absolute necessary would be superfluous and just plain out of character. From the perspective of the ’80s, Lang’s early collections caught fashion completely off-guard. They were expecting to see something, but he showed them practically nothing. His models marched through the crowd at ground level, stone-faced and serious. There was no runway, no theatrics, and like modern art seen for the first time, what was immediately striking about his clothes was a sense of absence. But like the apparently blank canvas that upon closer inspection reveals thousands of tiny brush strokes, Lang’s minimalism is deceptive; there is always something more to his clothes if you know where to look for it. A tank dress, for example, might be cut on the bias, mapped out with complicated seaming, or boned like a couture gown. Working with his concise framework, Lang experiments with layering and fabrication (lace melted into rubber; hologram treatments, reflective stripes, nylon tipped in sequins and then shrouded in gauze); he has devised such trademark details as deep cuffs, slit sleeves and opening seams, sashes and elastic shoulder straps that serve no real function other than to suggest a bit of lingerie; in his own way he has pulled inspiration from punk (slashed t-shirts, rubber), military (fatigues, banding), hippie (stretch lace and gladiator sandals), and classic (camel coats, tuxedos).
In the end, it is too easy to say Lang is a minimalist, too much to call him a fine artist, too shallow to say he revels in surface values alone. The Helmut Lang effect, the Helmut Lang attitude, is more easily pinned down than the Helmut Lang process. In the 90s, he has spearheaded the shift in the fashion gauge from hot to cool. Like the bright red sign on the taxi that was, as it turns out, an announcement for the launch of his new jeans line, Lang’s clothes come across like a silent nod that says, “Yes, I know.”
Magazine: Dutch September/October 1999
Photographer: Thomas Schenk