Every few years a designer comes along whose unorthodox approach shakes up the fashion industry, as was the case when Helmut Lang burst on the scene in the late 1980s. The Austrian designer pioneered an impactful, intellectual minimalism that shaped fashion and culture throughout the ‘90s. He was one of the first major designers to relocate to New York from Europe—choosing to show in Chelsea’s art district before anyone else, the first to place fashion ads on taxi cabs, the first to livestream a show, and the first to elevate denim into the designer realm. And, of course, Barneys was one of the first to buy his collections.
“Helmut was completely fresh and new. He was a modernist, and he wasn’t referential—he was a true designer committed to the process,” reflects Jay Bell, SVP of Men’s at Barneys. “His designs looked like nothing anyone had ever seen, and for many fashion die hard fans, he was everything.”
Re-Editions Volume 1 is the launch of 15 archival pieces that originally debuted between 1997 and 2005. “When we were given the opportunity to review the Helmut Lang Re-Edition collection, we were immediately excited by the project and the curatorial approach to these design-classics reimagined for today,” says Tom Kalenderian EVP GMM Mens & Chelsea Passage, who remembers when Barneys carried the pieces the first time around. “These individual pieces rekindle the high energy level we once felt from the originals.”
Kalenderian also notes how important the brand was to both men and women’s fashion, not as a unisex concept, but rather as the truly modern minimalist wardrobe with a unique approach to combining sharp silhouettes with luxury.
“This collection is a chance to embrace some of those major pieces that prove the timelessness of Helmut Lang,” adds Bell. “The genius of Helmut Lang is that these pieces are completely relevant today, nearly 20 years later.”