Helmut Lang juxtaposed art with armour for Fall/Winter 2024. For his second collection, Creative Director Peter Do asked the question, “Protection or projection?” as part of his examination into the psyche of dressing.
Do looked into how lifestyle affects fashion, with the catwalk serving as the base for an idiosyncratic exploration of what we wear. Ahead of the show, the label took to social media to give an insight into the collection, stating: “The way we speak is the way we live. The way we live determines the way we dress. The way we dress is the way we equip ourselves, is the way we protect ourselves. The way we protect ourselves is the way we define: Armor or Adornment? The way we define armor or adornment is the way we use wit.”
Sheer and solid met across a number of looks, merging sexy flashes of skin with rigid colour-blocking. A striking orange high-neck knitted top featured cut-outs to the rear of the shoulders, and trousers exposed undergarments, where shielded uniforms were stripped back, unpacking the differing ways confidence is exuded through clothing.
Do’s sophomore collection for Helmut Lang was presented from within the capitalist confines of the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, which was transformed into a space of beauty with inflated decorations and semi-sheer cloth draped from walls and ceilings. Today’s location follows Do’s Helmut Lang debut at Skylight at Essex Crossing in the Lower East Side, another distinctly New York, and consequently quintessentially Helmut Lang location.
Do deconstructed the armour of late-stage capitalism by adding disconnected zippered detailing to boxy suiting and modest knitwear, free of conservative constriction. Later looks saw balaclavas thrown into the mix, merging combat and corporate uniformity, a utilitarian pairing at the heart of Helmut Lang.
We then saw a monochrome grey skirt worn over pants, reflective of the practical adaptations wearers make to their uniforms. As part of the function-focused procession, green military-style shirting contrasted with statement red, where undeviating regimented dressing clashed with outward expressionism.
Sleeveless leather tops featured rib detailing with two defined strap-like details across the chest, mirroring those on ballistic armour. This piece, in particular, felt rooted in Helmut Lang history, with the high-end label making a name for itself by modelling clothing on bullet-proof vests. Trompe De L’oeil plays with material arrived in leather plaid skirts, long sleeves and trousers, further disrupting the monochromatic display. Wearable weapons arrived in the form of stilettos and Oxfords, which featured steel toe caps and semi-structured leather bags mirrored the shape of toolboxes, further adding to the utilitarian theme.
Helmut Lang Fall/Winter 2024 offered an introspective unpacking of how we dress in 50 looks. It contrasted sensuality with structure, reflective of Do’s thoughtful approach to design and the legacy of the Helmut Lang label.
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