"I have been developing...what I call a non-referential view of fashion. It is all about today. It has to do with my personality, with my life and with the idea that quality doesn't go out of style every six months." -- Helmut Lang, The St. James Fashion Encyclopedia.
Saying you wear Helmut Lang is the sartorial equivalent of saying you read existential philosophy for kicks: both statements up your intelligent quotient and label you as someone who doesn't waste time with shallow pursuits.
Although his aesthetic has been labeled minimal and severe, Helmut Lang went sexy for Spring 2001 with a nod to bondage and designer Azzedine Alaia.
Lang's use of unexpected materials, spare silhouettes and ability to transcend the current trends of the design world have placed him at the forefront of influential fashion designers.
Known for: Hip, modern, deceptively simple styles
Born: March 10, Vienna, Austria
Started in the business: 1977; eponymous womenswear line launched 1986
Awards: CFDA's Menswear Designer of the Year, 2000
|What you might not know about him
-He's responsible for such '90s trends as the clingy, stretchy T-shirt.
-His innovations don't end in design: in 1999 he moved his Spring 2000 show to September (from November), upstaging the European shows and influencing other New York based designers to follow suit.
-His first show in New York was for Spring '99 (he reportedly moved there for love).
-He lives on the same street in the Hamptons as Jerry Seinfeld.
The customer he designs for: Urban, modern, intellectual
Notable quote: "Fashion is going too fast, and identities are being too quickly mainstreamed by the whole fashion business." -- Lumiere
Billy Bob Thornton, Courtney Love (In Harper's Bazaar she calls him "Daddy Helmut" and says his clothes are "A language between smart people.")
How you can get the look:
Stick with urban-inspired hues, including black, khaki, gray and white, but don't be afraid to venture into punchy orange or fuchsia to shake up the status quo.
The silhouette is usually lean and mean, with razor-sharp shoulders on jackets to slim pants -- for both him and her.
Try oddball accessories or techy touches: he's been known to innovate with arm pouches, fanny packs and more.
Key pieces include the sleek pantsuit, three-quarter length coat, and Helmut trademark, the clingy T-shirt.
Helmut Lang corporate site
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