Helmut Lang Seen by Shayne Oliver at NYFW SS18

"If you really have your own identity you'll keep on doing what you really think is right for you, and you'll also understand the next step you want to take." - Helmut Lang.


When Andrew Rosen, the chief executive of Helmut Lang and Theory hired Isabella Burley (editor of British fashion magazine Dazed) to be Helmut Lang's first ever editor in residence, in other words operating a fashion label through between the lines of a magazine, she invited Hood by Air designer and founder Shayne Oliver to be the first designer in residence. One of many designers who have cited Lang as a reference, "I referenced him so much it's crazy," Shayne Oliver once said in an interview. A capsule collection was shown last night during New York fashion week on the poignant date of September 11th.

The last time we seen Shayne work with the Hood by Air brand he founded, was a year ago for the Spring 2017 season. He collaborated with PornHub, had double-ended alligator cowboy boots and Wolfgang Tillmans walked in the show. During the three-year stint that HBA dominated (it was actually founded in 2007), their shows were perhaps the closest to flamboyant runway theatrics since the likes of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano at Dior. A huge absence from what is, apart from the odd few, a mostly commercial and dull fashion week in New York. Like Milan, New York is a city that lacks the energy and undiluted creativity of London and the power of the old Paris houses. Unveiled online on the day of the show, was a series of polaroids advertising a limited edition collection of tour merchandise, now available to buy today from the Helmut Lang webstore. It was Oliver's way of referencing how he imagines his current stint at Helmut Lang feels as if he's touring like a band. "The inspiration," he told Vogue.com "came simply from music bands and the concept of being able to leave the best show you've ever seen with a tangible piece of the show. This is a concept that I believe the fashion world should start to understand more."


Helmut Lang, a designer loved for his association with minimalism and making something luxurious out of everyday staples, one of the originals in an approach to making unisex fashion. "Lang did for T-shirts and jeans what Ralph Lauren did for club ties and tweed jackets - he made them fashion garments," Kate Betts, the then-editor of Harper's Bazaar, told The New Yorker for a profile back in
2000. He took inspiration from military garb,
Oliver wears bra from his debut Helmut Lang collection
showing his collections online, presenting both menswear and womenswear together, casting his shows with friends and people of all ages, shooting highly conceptual advertising campaigns that did not always display clothes - all of which have become standard practice, he also didn't shy away from his fascination with BDSM gear, bondage and fetishes, one aspect in particular Shayne Oliver caught onto.

Yes there was some sharp, streamlined tailoring in the collection, but as for kink, it came in an abundance. Asymmetric, sculptural brassieres in leather doubled as bags, zipped with card holders sewn on the back - Shayne can be seen wearing one in an interview with the New York Times a couple of days before the show. There was also peekaboo harnesses, crotchless and rear-less trousers were suspended from the waistband as if garters - hot! Leather codpieces, essentially thongs for men were at times were pierced. "It's horny!' Oliver said of Lang's fashions. There was a lot of leather and heavy chains and gender wasn't an issue. It did have a lot of references to his own Hood By Air label, but I loved that about it, I mean what was he supposed to do, just forget everything he stands for? Of course not, that wouldn't be a genuine Shayne Oliver collection for Helmut Lang. I would have hated for him not to stay true to himself. And like I mentioned earlier, Hood By Air has been put on a hiatus. This made perfect sense. 

There was one particular type of shoe that I had a major moment over. Unique and captivating, they were seen in white and in black, sandal-like high boots, however it was the silhouette they created when unzipped that I found to be so incredibly enticing. The front and back was folded down on the runway, but the shape was square, which when fully zipped would create a complete new look. A newspaper graphic, seen on rolled-up bags that models help up to their face and on the backs of garments was titled "Helmut Lang" had the headline "UNCOMMON ACTION IN A SOCIETY OF REPRESSED THOUGHTS." I'm a sucker for quotes like this. Briefcases also came in clear perspex. Models stomped the runway to the pounding sounds similar to those of past Hood By Air shows, before the soundtrack took a peculiar but nonetheless an interesting and exciting U-turn when Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" played through the speakers. This right here was a fashion moment. When questioned on what a "designer-in-residence" actually meant, Shayne was coy, and left the question open as to what happens next season? But what I know for sure is that I would love Shayne Oliver to take his HBA label off of hold and be hired as Creative Director of Helmut Lang.























































Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway

Seen by Shayne Oliver
xxx

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