Helmut Lang: Seen by Shayne Oliver

by Paige Reddinger

Helmut Lang got a revamp this season in more ways than one. The brand brought on 26-year-old Isabella Burley, who also happens to be the editor in chief of London’s Dazed magazine, to be editor in residence at the brand. In her new role, Burley has overseen everything from a digital redesign, a new logo, the introductions of an artist series, and tapped provocateur Shayne Oliver to create the first collection for the brand’s new artist in residence program. Oliver has long been a fashion industry darling since launching Hood by Air in his twenties—a brand whose influence endures on runways around the globe today—and now that the designer has turned 30 he’s put his own brand on hold and taken on a bigger, more mainstream stage. But the collection, Seen by Shayne Oliver, was anything but mainstream, and neither was Helmut Lang for that matter. Oliver honed in on Lang’s fondness for fetish, a shared interest of the two designers. That materialized in leather bras worn on men and women that doubled as hand bags (the cups unzip to hold your keys, wallet, or whatever else you may want to stuff in there) or in cut-out bra tops, leather crotch covers, chaps done in suiting material, and thigh-high heels whose leather rolled down the leg instead of covering it. Those may sound unwearable to the less daring, but there were pieces like a great powder pink puffer coat, some killer leather pants, sleek evening coats, and elegant minimalist evening wear that will surely translate to retail. Although you can expect to see the bra bags in stores too and that’s just one example of how much Andrew Rosen and Burley believe in Oliver. It was certainly one of the most anticipated shows at New York Fashion Week in a season that has seen some of the brightest American talent decamp to Paris and we hope to see Oliver’s name firmly on the map again for next season either here or in some other capacity.

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