Helmut Lang is set for a major reset. Under the direction of their new Editor-in-Residence Isabella Burley, the renowned fashion label that gained notoriety in the 90s with its minimal aesthetic is looking to rediscover its past. The major 'reset' includes a capsule collection with Shayne Oliver (best know for Hood By Air) plus re-issues of classic archive pieces. The campaign shot be Ethan James Green combined with original design layout for Spring 18 recaptures that spirit... Read on after the images for the Vogue interview

 

It was 19 years ago this month that Helmut Lang announced he would change the date of his Spring 1999 show. Circa Y2K, where Lang went, other designers followed. The move precipitated a radical shift in the fashion calendar, with New York leapfrogging to the front of the line from the end of it. The schedule disruption was just one of the ways Lang earned his pioneering bona fides before he left the brand he founded. (An Austrian strain of minimalism, the elevation of everyday clothes to luxury items, a unisex approach to dressing, and a most excellent denim range are some of the others.) With the relaunch of the Helmut Lang website today—step one of a larger reset engineered by the company’s chief executive, Andrew Rosen—the label’s first-ever editor in residence, Isabella Burley, is tapping into Lang’s iconoclastic m.o.

The most obvious connection between Helmut Lang then and Helmut Lang now is the eclectic cast of characters in the new Ethan James Green–lensed campaign, which also features the original typographic language. “What was crucial for me, this being the first visual people are seeing, was re-establishing the community around Helmut Lang again,” Burley says. “He had creative people—artists, stylists, writers—all around.” Burley, for her part, has Hood By Air founder Shayne Oliver, who she selected as the label’s first guest designer. She’s got Chris “I Love Dick” Kraus, Kembra Pfahler, Alek Wek, and Little Miss Flint Mari Copeny. She also has Traci Lords, who starred in the 1995 sex issue of Details magazine wearing custom-made Helmut Lang clothes. “Not even Helmut Lang fans would know that,” says Burley.

Fans of the designer Helmut Lang are legion. Many of them sit in creative director chairs at top fashion houses, a point that hasn’t been lost on Burley. “It’s really important for Helmut Lang to be an authority on Helmut Lang again,” she says. “For us to take ownership and say this was done by the brand first, telling that story to a new generation is exciting to me.” Burley, who is also the editor in chief of Dazed & Confused magazine, is a member of the new generation she’s trying to reach. At 26, she was barely in grade school when Lang left Paris for New York, and she was high school age when he left his brand in 2005.

Burley’s job is a first of its kind, with duties that extend beyond content creation to product initiatives, including multiple projects with different timelines. “The task is creating a sense of urgency around the brand: Why does somebody have to come and discover Helmut Lang again?” Helmut Lang Re-Edition will showcase a rotating selection of reissues from the Lang archive; it launches in September. And the yearlong Seen By series will reactivate the kind of collaboration that Lang enjoyed (with Jenny Holzer, with Louise Bourgeois) with 12 contemporary visual artists. Buzziest of all the elements is the designer residency. Burley called on HBA’s Oliver because, she says, “It made sense. As I was getting into fashion and seeing the earlier Hood By Air shows, I felt this energy, and I think it’s the energy they talk about when they remember Helmut Lang.” Watch this space: Oliver’s Helmut Lang debut is set for September 11 during New York Fashion Week.