There wasn’t a lot of buzz this NYFW - with one exception. The re-launch of Helmut Lang, overseen by Isabella Burley and created by designer in residence Shayne Oliver, was marked by hype, hysteria, and cultish enthusiasm from both editors and the street. Outside Pearl River on Broadway where Oliver showed, hundreds gathered. It was a bit of a fight to get inside the venue, and once you made it in, you were greeted by a heady wisp of smoke and a just shy of chaotic crowd.
Oliver looked to Lang’s revered minimalism, but also his exploration of fetish. The focus was on leather offerings - straight-legged pants, a deconstructed bomber - and clean tailored pieces (coating - takes on blazers - is a highlight). Largely, studies of deviance and BDSM dominated. Male and female models wore exaggerated leather bra tops. Jackets were fit with industrial buckles and pants were spliced at the hip and held together with garters.
Sophia Lamar walked in a pair of silk pants and a black blazer, and H and O covering her nipples. This was a show, yes, in homage to Lang, but also in celebration of the scene and culture Oliver occupies. A male model wore a tailored blazer-cum-kilt. Boots came equipped with locks. A blood red coat had seatbelt buckles in place of traditional clasps or buttons. Sex and constriction was on the brain. The new Helmut Lang feels young, and it feels alive. It’s not for everyone - a white belt reading 'Lang' in silver lettering and a copper metallic mini skirt is downtown specific - but there’s no doubt it will resonate with Oliver’s core audience. There's a fever below 14th Street.