The Post Helmut Lang Generation

Spring 2001

Spring 2002

Spring 2003

Spring 2004

Spring 2005

– all images from L’Officiel Collection

It is not so much that the Spring 2011 collections in New York directly referenced Helmut Lang’s work, it’s more that the Austrian-American designer, in hindsight, has come to define the spirit of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The period’s reconciliation of 90’s minimalism, its attempts to subvert a benign and prosperous status quo, its anticipation of a cultural/aesthetic revolution brought on by technology, and most importantly, its fearless and optimistic futurism are all tenets of Lang’s oeuvre.

One could argue that the events of September 11 redirected fashion’s trajectory, turning it away from a brightly lit utopia, flinging it back towards comforting, albeit artificial, memories of the past. The collections from Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, and Thakoon – upstart designers who have been lauded by both the commercial and media tastemakers – seemed determined to steer the direction back on track. It is almost as if these young designers, so young that perhaps their most formative memories of fashion were during those couple of years before and after the new millennium, are pining for the era they missed. It’s a different kind of nostalgia. And yet, the most natural and literal expression of Helmut Lang-isms came from Reed Krakoff, a veteran industry professional with a knack for the needs and dreams of the time. Of course, it’s totally appropriate as Lang’s women’s design director, Melanie Ward, has been contributing to the line.

looks from Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, Thakoon, and Reed Krakoff

images from elle.com

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