Helmut Lang

Helmut Lang

Born in 1956, Helmut Lang is a fashion designer and artist from Austria, who works in Long Island. When Lang was under five years old, his parents got their divorce appeal accepted and sent their kid to his grandparents in Ramsau am Dachstein situated in Austrian Alps. His grandfather was a shoemaker behind Salzburg in the mountains. When Lang was ten years old, his father opted for remarriage and brought his son, with him and his new wife, to Vienna.

Eight years later, once again Lang moved and this time out of his father’s home in order to pursue education and career in design. Originally Lang was a business studies student but he steered his focus towards fashion and taught himself the art of apparel designing. Within a matter of few years, Lang opened a tailor shop. His clothing designs were fairly popular in his native land. In 1984, after closing his business, he introduced his first catwalk collection two years later at Paris’s Centre Georges Popidou. Following this, Lang moved to the hub of design and trends… New York.

During the 80s and 90s, the kind of fashion that reached the pinnacle of success was the ‘minimalist’ approach. Designers like Giorgio Armani, Jil Sander and Helmut himself were going for this style and becoming increasingly admired by the fashion-loving people in the market.

Lang’s popularity is based on his utilization of unusual materials, including feather, metallic cloth and rubber. With these, he redefined silhouettes of the 1990s and 2000s. Lang broke away from the conventional showcase of collections through runways and became the first to stream his fashion collections over the internet. Lang has the quality and capability of blending expensive and cheap fabrics and blurring the boundary between traditional women’s and men’s wear.

Helmut Lang has been seamlessly related to art and this fact became the foundation of his collaborative projects with artists Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer. Lang takes art and design, mixes the two in an harmonizing way in order to mould something extraordinary and often afar from the human body limitations. In 2008, Lang conducted his debut solo retrospective of his art works in Hanover at the Kestnergesellschaft. The exhibition was called ALLES GLEICH SCHWER.

In 1999, the Prada Group was given the opportunity by Lang to buy fifty-one percent stake in Helmut Lang’s company. With this set up, Prada ran the manufacturing plus the distribution divisions and Lang looked after the design and marketing/advertising. Later on, Prada helped Lang in developing his eponymous accessories line with a range of bags, belt and shoes. The Helmut Lang fashion stores soon opened in Singapore and Hong Kong. By 2004, Prada bought the remaining shares of Lang’s company and took complete control of the brand. Helmut on the other hand, continued to work as the creative director. A year later, it was announced that Lang will depart from his own company  and so he did. After this, Prada tried to continue the lines but failed. Hence, the Helmut Lang headquarters located in SoHo closed down. Around the same time, everything related to the brand: the outlets, the website and the collections were discontinued. In 2006, Tokyo’s Link Theory Holdings bought Lang’s label and everything was re-activated.

Helmut Lang, the designer himself has worked not just within the field of fashion but has also been involved in architectural and fragrance designing and production projects. He has won numerous awards for his work in art and fashion. In addition to this, his art work has been displayed in several galleries in the world.