Helmut Lang's Fashion Evolution
Minimal, clean, pared down, crisp and more than a touch androgynous, for these reasons has the label from the Austrian designer been revered by several generations of critics and customers alike. Straight leg trousers, crisp white shirts and no frills jackets create a serious wardrobe of high quality attire for the modern woman.
Helmut Lang set up his made-to measure shop in 1979 having run his own fashion studio for two years by that point – as a solution to the problem of not being able to find ‘the perfect t shirt’ in normal shops. During the 1980s he alternated showing his collections at Paris and Vienna fashion weeks. He maintains that he never described himself as a minimalist, that the tag was assigned to him by the fashion press and he has always striven to resist categorisation. Throughout the 1990s additional ranges were released by the label - including underwear, eyewear, and jeans in 1997.
After the selling 51% of the business that he had spent so many years building up, to Prada in 1999 , Lang, frustrated by the shift in management, dramatically decided to quit fashion for Fine Art. Meanwhile the company introduced first fragrance, Helmut Lang, and Helmut Lang Parfums flagship store launched bath and body lines.
Since the departure of the brand’s namesake and founder, the company has changed hands once again and is now owned by Link Theory Holdings. It has been repositioned as a more affordable line, as opposed to a luxury one. Michael and Nicole Colovos, the founders of Habitual jeans, head up the design team. For their first runway show, Nicole said that she and her partner had decided to concentrate on 'modern fabrics and architectural lines.' In other words, they decided to stay true to the soul of the brand.
Their strategy has paid off according to the critics, featuring popular pieces such as tanks for layering, sharp narrow trousers, slick blazer jackets, and monochrome colour schemes. Some of the fabrics looked high-tech but actually were made mostly of natural fibres, woven and coated in innovative ways. In this way the legacy of Lang's stark vision is preserved and the business continues to thrive.