Resuscitate Helmut Lang? - the Fashion Spot
 
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29-04-2005
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rach2jlc's Avatar
 
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I Miss Helmut Lang
Anybody else miss Helmut Lang? I sure do.

I thought that maybe this thread could become a "Why do you Miss/Not Miss Helmut Lang???" thread, something like those started about Marc Jacobs and Prada.

Anyway, I miss Helmut Lang because he is one of the few designers whose clothes almost always looked better on the PERSON than on the rack in the store. I've bought so many items that looked SO great in the store and then, when I brought them home, looked terrible on me (yes, Dior Homme, I'm looking at you). Often, Helmut's items were so simple that I would pass them by several times in the store before trying them on. I would say, "I don't need another long sleeve white cotton shirt" but then, when I would finally try it on, I'd find that it looked better on me than any other long sleeve cotton shirt that I've ever owned.

It was like that with so many of his pieces... jeans, tees, dress pants, even suits. It was his ability to twist simple, staple pieces like this that really made me appreciate his work. Anybody can make a shirt out of a flashy material and put nice buttons on it, but I think it attests to Helmut's keen eye that he could take something like a white shirt and really make it something interesting and flattering to the wearer. And, all the while, keeping it from being either gimmicky or fake pseudo-intellectual. It was always just a white shirt... it was never a statement about globalization or something.

Of course, we could get into the drop in quality since the Prada take over, but there was still a lot of great stuff going on with Helmut.

What do you think? And, what is the latest news with Helmut? I've not heard much since we posted a few weeks ago about the group of "foreign investors" in talks with Bertelli.

John

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29-04-2005
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I can't say that I miss him yet, because the clothes designed by him are still in stores. I think he'll be back. You should check out "Prada closes Helmut Lang New York offices" thread, plenty of discussion there.

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31-08-2011
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maybe we should revive this thread?...

seems like there are a few of us who really do miss helmut lang...
and the fact that he has resurfaced recently with an exhibit of his art and confirmed once again that he has no desire to return to fashion, has only made me miss him all the more...

...

maybe we can all post some of our favourite things from his body of work...
and tell why we love him and why there is no one else like him...
at your leisure of course...

...

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Last edited by softgrey; 31-08-2011 at 01:45 PM.
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24-07-2014
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I've been away far too long! But yes, I feel that in the years in between the space left by Helmut is pronounced.

I'll try to chime in more and post pics soon... but I hope some of the "old guard" can come back and say how much we loved Helmut.

There is a category/niche market for everything these days... but there has never been another who hit all the right points like HL.

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25-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post
I've been away far too long! But yes, I feel that in the years in between the space left by Helmut is pronounced.

I'll try to chime in more and post pics soon... but I hope some of the "old guard" can come back and say how much we loved Helmut.

There is a category/niche market for everything these days... but there has never been another who hit all the right points like HL.
Glad to have you back here, after all rach2jlc!

Yes, I share your sentiments completely. Though I do think that Helmut did notice a shifting of the market and was slowly but steadily developed a more ornamental, 'worked' garment approach than the 90ies minimalism people credit him for. You could read a much more 'fashion' direction in the collections that were designed in his last few years in New York and Paris, something subtle-y 'New Wave' that people like Dirk Schoenberger, Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane were at the time also drawn towards.

Otherwise I must admit the cut and quality of his suits and jeans (some of the most iconic staples) was absolutely horrendous at the time his' and Jil Sander's brand were owned by Prada. Other people (we know whom) set a new standard for great separates and slim silhouettes while Helmut was still doing the 'same old' cuts as before.

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25-07-2014
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I think that if i was a guy, i'd miss him more...
what i miss is guys wearing helmut lang...
it's nice to look at...

...


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25-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softgrey View Post
I think that if i was a guy, i'd miss him more...
what i miss is guys wearing helmut lang...
it's nice to look at...

...

I sometimes think on the contrary. I would rather see somebody do something a whole lot more androgynous and severe, yet chic in that totally urban sense for women as what Helmut Lang did for women.

A lot of people have been citing Helmut Lang as a major reference point for Phoebe Philo's Celine but I don't see this at all being the case. Helmut's flair was in that unique blend of utilitarian, militarian, technical sportswear, classical tailoring and fetish elements, rendering all of that into an end product that felt chic and modern in an uncontrived way. A lot of his runway silhouettes would be neither a proposition as day or evening wear but something you could wear anytime, any place. I liked that the most about his clothes.

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19-10-2015
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Resuscitate Helmut Lang?
One week ago, I went to the Helmut Lang store in Paris, and I was surprised to see how disappointing the clothes were. This brand is now sort of a joke, making faux minimalism with boring aesthetics, the pieces are no longer original, inventive, and it's been 10 years since Helmut Lang left...
Katayone Adeli and Alexandre Plokhov are now creative directors and they are talented but I feel like they are heading in the wrong direction, no one cares about Lang now while he was a precursor and most designers always have an old Helmut Lang piece in their offices to get inspired ( this is what many many rumors say and I think this is right ), and this is sad.

IMO, if Helmut Lang goes back and designs even a few pieces to show during some new " Séances de Travail " or in the Paris store ( which is always empty ), while Plokhov and Adeli follow his steps and create more " Helmut Lang-inspired " pieces, it would greatly help the label.

What would you do to resuscitate Helmut Lang ?

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19-10-2015
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it is so boring, they need to get runway shows back for a start

i cannot believe that they have such a huge space in the dept. stores in london, i walk right past them now. they just need to inject a bit more colour, imo. anyone can find the clothes they do atm at rag & bone

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19-10-2015
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No one can even compare to Helmut for me.

The first couple that helmed the label did some decent basics— at best, until they turned the label into a Rick Owen’s tribute— which is all too hilarious since Rick was clearly influenced by Helmut but dislayed none of Helmut’s restrained finesse. Plokhov’s design is plain terrible to me— nowhere even in the same stratosphere as Helmut’s ingenuity and sharpness of innovation.

Someone one day may come along and I’ll be open to be impressed. But none of the teams have done anything remotely worthy. If it were my choice, I’d just let it go.

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19-10-2015
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I really don't know about resuscitate Helmut Lang. The reality is that he is still one of the most influencial designer of the last 20 years.
When he left, a lot of his old customers went to Balenciaga. It offered what Helmut Lang customers wanted: great basics, great cuts, innovation and great fashion overall.
Riccardo Tisci is still copying a lot of Helmut Lang. Everything from the shoes to the menswear is "Helmut Lang-ish".

They have started to reproduce the iconic perfumes. The only relevant way to resuscitate HELMUT LANG for me is to reproduce old pieces. No designer can do justice to the brand. Nicolas G, Riccardo T & Raf S will never loose their position to go there (they are the best for it).

But i don't know if the house own the archives as he destroyed a lot of them to make art.
It sounds weird to do an "archive only" based brand but everybody is doing that.

He will never comeback to fashion (even is he is on my list to take Chanel after Karl, with Nicolas Ghesquiere & Junya Watanabe).
Even when he came back to Paris, it wasn't as successful as before (even if i liked it).

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19-10-2015
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Goodness… Helmut at Chanel would be akin to witnessing the Second Coming for me LOL

That House’s legendary atelier alongside Helmut’s design visionary direction is the stuff of high fashion… Genesis. And to have menswear— OMG, I would have a genuine moment.

But truth is, would Helmut be the same designer 10 years later if he were to return to high fashion…? We can idealize a designer for their strongest and most visionary contributions, but if we were to go through their entire archive, there are sure to be some spotty collections from time to time. And I don’t know if Helmut would still be the innovator he was in the current fashionscape.

Besides the fact that he destroyed/ recycled his entire archive to create artwork is enough for me that the reality is that he’s very much over high fashion. And yes, his collections after his return from NYC seems to be short of that design vision that drew me to his fashion in the first place— but maybe he was just having a less than inspired period? Every desigenr goes through that; no one can continuously churn out hit after hit. Or, maybe that was his maturity, evolution as a creative individual— and that’s how he saw high fashion…? If the latter was the case, maybe it was better he left when he did. You know, Alaia will always be Alaia, and there will always be pieces that are glorious and remind people of the reason why he is so cherished, but seeing his current offerings as a complete collection, it’s just clearly not as strong as it was back in the early-90s. That’s not how I would like to see Helmut become, to be frank.


Last edited by Phuel; 19-10-2015 at 06:28 PM.
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19-10-2015
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^^
Personally, the return of Tom Ford changed a lot of perspectives for me in terms of high fashion.
I (we) had that fantasy of him coming back and taking back the crown he had 6 years before. His collections were still in people's minds, he was copied by the new generation of designers who were also nostalgic of his era and the fact that Gucci sparkle faded made him the "ultimate fashion god".

He was, with Helmut, the big designer who wanted to push fashion forward, break the conventions and challenge our taste.

During his long absence, people almost forgot that he was a very controversial designer. For many people, he was a stylist and the funny part was that he became a "designer" in some people's minds when he left and that they had the opportunity to look back at his work.

I love Tom Ford and he is still my favorite designer. I think that he is still great as he is still able to challenge our taste and make us think about fashion.

The parallel with Alaia is interesting because for me, Alaia is a survivor of the 80's as Tom Ford is a survivor of the 90's.
Helmut for me wasn't a survivor. I think it'svery difficult for someone who has been so radical and so outside of the box to become trendy and then to move on with the same strengh.

You said it, his collections after his NYC period lacked in design vision because suddenly he had to fit to the state of fashion.

That's why i think that if the owners wants to do something interesting with the brand, they should just reproduce old designs or re-adapt them rather than hiring someone else.

Because if you don't want Helmut Lang to go à la Alaia, i think that it may goes à la Jil Sander which is totally irrelevant today, in every ways possible.

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20-10-2015
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^^ I tend to agree with you.

When Onward Luxury Groupe chose Rodolfo Paglialunga as Jil Sander's new creative director, we all knew it was not the right choice, and seeing how disappointing the latest collections were, we were right. He lacks the talent of Jil or Raf, and he is currently conveying the worst image possible of the brand.

Same goes for Helmut Lang now... They should keep the core designers, those who always worked with Helmut, and ask them to reinterpret what he did, because no one can even compare to him and his raw sense of minimalism.

Strangely, Jil and Helmut were both owned by Prada and sold in 2004 and 2005, and it's funny to see how " similar " their paths are now... Even if Jil Sander stayed relevant under Raf and Jil, the brand is failing at following its own DNA and will quickly become a new Helmut Lang...

But IMO, the brand should be discontinued within 20 years, because if they follow the " reinterpret previous pieces " scheme, it cannot last forever and they will have to find something else...

I personnaly hold Prada responsible of Helmut Lang's fall, they should not have decreased investement in the denim line to invest in accessories, thinking Helmut Lang was a regular luxury brand...

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20-10-2015
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You should remember that Helmut's archives burnt few years ago so it's impossible to recreate his pieces. This brand should be closed, because it's lifeless and not interesting at all. And I don't think that copying archive pieces would save them, they still would be as boring and uninteresting as Courreges one year ago, Cacharel or Guy Laroche. It's so sad, because Lang was an innovator and his fashion is still fresh and modern but I see nobody who would be a good replacement.

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