Helmut Lang (artist)

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Helmut Lang
Helmut Lang self portrait 2007.jpg
Lang in 2007
Helmut Lang

(1956-03-10) 10 March 1956 (age 64)
Known for
  • Fashion
  • architecture
  • sculpture
AwardsÖsterreichischen Ehrenzeichens für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 2009
Helmut Lang

Helmut Lang (born 10 March 1956) is an Austrian artist and former fashion designer who lives and works in New York and on Long Island.


In 1984, Lang closed the shop and two years later showed his first Helmut Lang runway collection in Paris at Centre Georges Pompidou. He showed the first Helmut Lang Men's collection in 1987. In 1997 he moved his label from Vienna to New York.[1][2]

Lang used unconventional materials such as rubber, feathers and metallic fabrics and redefined the silhouette of the 1990s and early 2000s. He broke away from the runway show-as-spectacle in the height of the 1980s opulence and was the first to stream his collection online.[3]

Lang's brand was known for its utilitarian, minimalist aesthetic,[4] as well as for its prestige range of denim, for which he charged for a premium in the 1990s.[5]

In 1999, Lang sold a 51% stake in his company to the Prada Group, with Prada running distribution and manufacturing and Lang controlling design and advertising. Afterwards, Prada developed a line of Helmut Lang accessories such as shoes, belts and bags, and opened Helmut Lang stores in Hong Kong and Singapore.[1] Sales under the Prada Group fell from $100 million in 1999 to $37 million in 2003. The brand's decision to cancel the licensing for an external company to manufacture and market its profitable range of Helmut Lang Jeans was cited as one of the reasons for its loss in revenue.[6] In 2005 he left his label and retired from fashion. He has since been based in Long Island.[5] In 2006, Prada sold the Helmut Lang brand to Link Theory Holdings.[4]

Lang had collaborated with artists Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois. His recent works explore abstract sculptural forms and physical arrangements and space beyond the limitations of the human body. Lang had his first solo art exhibition ALLES GLEICH SCHWER at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hannover in 2008.[7] Lang has published excerpts from his ongoing art projects Long Island Diaries [13] and The Selective Memory Series [14] in a number of publications, such as BUTT Magazine [15], Fannzine 137 [16], Visionaire and most recently The Travel Almanac [17].


Surrogate Skin (2008), as displayed in the exhibition HELMUT LANG, ALLES GLEICH SCHWER at the kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, 2008

This timeline outlines Helmut Lang's work in fashion and art up until 2011.

Solo Exhibitions

2012 Sculptures, Mark Fletcher, New York, NY [8]
2011 Make It Hard, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton [9][9]
2008 Alles Gleich Schwer, kestnergesellschaft, Hanover [10]
2008 Archive, 032c Museum Store, Berlin [11]
2007 Next Ever After, The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn [12]
2007 Selective Memory Series, Purple Institute, Paris[13][14]
1986 Viennese Modernism. Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris [15]

Group Exhibitions

2011 Commercial Break. Venice Biennale, Venice [16] [18]
2011 Austria Davaj!. MUAR, Moscow [16][19]
2010 Not in Fashion. MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt[16] [20]
2009 Industrial Light Magic. Goethe Institute, New York City [21]
1998 Louise Bourgeois. Jenny Holzer. Helmut Lang, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna [16] [22]
1997 art/fashion, Guggenheim SOHO, New York City [16] [23]
1997 I Smell You on My Clothes. Florence Biennale, Florence[17]

Helmut Lang fashion 1977-2005[edit]

This timeline outlines the developments in Lang's fashion as well significant attributes of key collections.

1977 Opens made-to-measure studio in Vienna.[18]
1980-84 Development of signature collections and made-to-measure service in Vienna.
1986 First presentation in Paris. Shown off the Paris fashion calendar as part of the exhibition "Vienne 1880-1939: L'Apocalypse Joyeuse" at The Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou.[19]
1987 Introduction of the first Helmut Lang Men's collection. Women and Men's collections are shown together on the Paris fashion calendar. Men's silhouette marked the return of the narrow and tailored suit shown with the white shirt, back tie and made to measure shoes.
1988 Rejects the structure of the traditional fashion show. Introduces the concept of “Séance de Travail.”
1990 Introduces layering of transparent fabrics in new materials and textures. New approach towards the treatment of these. Introduction of Helmut Lang footwear
1991 Introduces wet looks, thermal fabrics, paper dresses and Native American influences.
1992 Introduces extremely shiny fabrics and textures. Thermal leathers, technical fabrics, padded clothing and body-conscious shapes.[20]
1993 A/W '93-'94. Street style / haute couture presented in wool knits, pure cashmere and velvet. Trademark slit and slashed sleeves first introduced.[21] S/S '94. Introduces cuffed pants, holographic fabrics, holographic sterling silver jeans, lacquered silks, phantom prints, apron dresses, colored tuxedo stripes, stretch daytime smoking coats, raw denim and customized silk dresses. Introduces hand-sprayed shoes and customized dancing shoes. First separate Men's presentation. Men's S/S '94 shown as part of the Paris fashion calendar. Begins collaboration with Juergen Teller on backstage documentation and advertising. Lang accepted a professorship at 'Modeklasse', the famous department of fashion design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
1994 A/W '94-'95. Latex-bounded lace, lacquered silks, smoking coats and suits, nylon veil dresses, airbrushed silks and slash geometric patterns on candy-colored fabrics. Introduced reflective fabrics and nude as staple color.[22] First show presented at 17 Rue Commines. S/S '95. "Hawaiian techno,” high-tech and air-tech. New nylon fabrics introduced.
1995 A/W '95-'96. “Couture customized”, camel and tweeds, bra holsters, chiffon and faille. Introduces two-color bloc paneling. Introduction of Helmut Lang underwear. S/S '96. New take on lace for men and women, delicate materials, electro vibe, visible bras, apron belts and contrast layering.[23]
1996 A/W '96-'97. Techno jungle, covered sequins, floral patterns, cargo styles, Japanese Obi style tops and evening dresses. Introduces signature uniform outerwear. Presented with gold blanked covered audience.[24] Introduction of Helmut Lang Jeans, featuring khakis, chinos, denims, work wear, casual wear, functionals and protective wear.[25] S/S '97. Introduction of sashes, festive and ceremonial wear, dislodged lingerie, tuxedo accessories and colored denim.[26]
1997 A/W '97-'98. Shift toward luxury with the use of classic and pure materials. Reintroduction of fine cashmeres, blended wools and silks. Introduction of funnel neck coats and pleated skirts. Silk tulle, cummerbunds and silk down coated duvet wraps. Definition of new Helmut Lang style with made-to-measure finishing.[27] Second separate Men's presentation. Men's S/S 98 collection shown as part of the New York fashion calendar. S/S '98. Introduction of A-line skirt and dresses. Usage of crinoline and pleats. Reintroduction of the classic white T-shirt. For men, introduction of the urban utilitarian. Vintage, painted and sanded denim. Introduction of fold-out clothes.[28] Introduction of “accessoire vêtements.”. Starts collaboration with Jenny Holzer on all Helmut Lang stores.[29] [24]
1998 Relocates company from Vienna to New York. First fashion house to make a transcontinental move.[30] Presentation of the A/W '98-'99 collection over the Internet. First-ever Internet-based fashion show. Launch of helmutlang.com.’’[31] Moves the presentation venue from Paris to New York, beginning with the A/W '98-'99 collection. Introduction of Helmut Lang Eyewear. Helmut Lang advertises on New York taxi rooftops. ‘’First fashion house to use this advertising channel’’. Features photography by Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber. A/W '98-'99. Luxury sportswear translated to luxury eveningwear. Couture-sportwear, volume and silk-furs. Introduction of the signature parka and burnt denim. For the S/S '99 collection, Helmut Lang moves the presentation ahead of the European schedule (from November to September), having the impact of shifting the entire fashion calendar.’’ [32] S/S '99. Utilitarian motorbike pants and arm bags. Flower and phantom prints, washed silver platinum leathers, silk feather coats and peasant looks. Introduction of extensions as major detail.[33]
1999 A/W '99-'00. Introduction of interior strap extensions. Introduction of shearing and colored leathers. Pure sterling silver fabrics and anti-stress materials. Introduction of the neck-rest. S/S '00. Electric colors, training gear attributes translated into haute couture cuts and fabric, silk organza, feather detailing and transparent layering.[34] Introduction of an extended luxury bag and shoe collection.[35] Introduction of the signature industrial rubber band as functional part of accessories and shoes.
2000 A/W '00-'01. Monochromatic uniforms.[36][25] S/S '01. Entomologic and marine biological structures. Austrian “Dirndl” influences, sharp strap compositions and lace-up.[37] [26] Launch of Helmut Lang fragrance, Men and Women. Collaboration with Jenny Holzer on fragrance advertising.
2001 A/W '01-'02. Opaque and sheer contrasts, luxury materials, organza and leather trim details.[38] S/S '02. Block panels, patent leather, leopard print silk, fold prints, architectural construction, organza layering and Viennese crochet. Introduction of accessory holsters and fragment pieces,
2002 A/W '02-'03. Structured layering, re-worked fisherman knits, monochromatic and metal blocks, combined scarf-tops and further incorporation of movement. [27] Moves the presentation of collections back to Paris. Separate Men's presentations through 2004. Women's presentations continues to be shown together with men's.[39] S/S '03. Surf references, Montauk-inspired, bright Day-Glo colors, bubble-wrap plastic, high contrast compositions, abstracted wetsuit bands, surf tails, cutouts, inside out made-to-measure trousers, laundry bag pattern, zipper surf couture, zipper smoking stripes and rubber signal prints.[40] [28] Limited-edition silver choker by Louise Bourgeois.[41] [29] Opens made-to-measure studio in New York.
2003 A/W '03-'04. “Urban Warrior” vernacular, aviation fragmented pieces, magnetic flaps, petaled organza, layering as clothing extension, interchangeable and modular pieces, one leg smoking chap and parachute holsters. Introduction of chaps for men and women. Introduction of cashmere and fleece fused material.[42][30] Collaboration with Louise Bourgeois in the creation of limited-edition pieces.[43] [31] Music by Brigitte Cornand featuring vocals by Louise Bourgeois [43][44] [32] S/S 04. “Dragonfly,” cut outs, battered metal, extended fragment accessories, ornamental pouches, hand wraps, wide color palette, entomologic and urban cowboy references.[45] Introduction of metallic patent leather in clothing and accessories. [33]
A/W 04-05. Eastern European influences, colored shearing, horsehair, copper leather, Hungarian pleats, French maid look, cummerbund tops, drapée holsters, skirt capes, French lace and Russian bark pattern. Introduction of made-to-measure evening dresses.[46][34] Collaboration with Louise Bourgeois in the creation of limited edition pieces.[47][48] [35] S/S 05. Maritime, rope and knot detailing, bathing suit trompe l’oeil waist. 1000 eye / pearl pieces, fishtails and sailor pant tuxedos. Introduction of elastic seersucker.[49][36]
Arbor (2008), as displayed in the exhibition HELMUT LANG, ALLES GLEICH SCHWER at the kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, 2008
Front Row (2009), sculpture commissioned by the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens
MAKE IT HARD (2011), as displayed at The Fireplace Project in East Hampton, 2011
MAKE IT HARD (2011), as displayed at The Fireplace Project in East Hampton, 2011


Helmut Lang's works are part of the following collections:

Architecture projects[edit]

Original Helmut Lang stores (until 2005)

All of the original Helmut Lang stores have been closed. The last one to close was the Paris location in late 2005. Most of the art-inspired stores had been designed by Lang in collaboration with Gluckman Mayner Architects of New York.



  • Helmut Lang Vienna, Seilergasse, 6, 1010, Vienna, Austria.[50]
  • Helmut Lang New York, Worldwide Flagship Store, 80 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012.[51]
  • Helmut Lang Headquarters, 80 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012, USA.[52]


  • Helmut Lang Paris, Store-within-a-store, Printemps, 64 Bld. Haussman, 75451, Paris, France.
  • Helmut Lang Hong Kong, Store-within-a-store, 228-230 Landmark Central, Hong Kong.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Singapore, Store-within-a-store, 9 Scott Road #02-10/11/12/13, Pacific Plaza, 228210, Singapore.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Aichi, Store-within-a-store, Nagoya Mitsukoshi, Mitsukoshi Nagoya Sakae 2F, 3-5-1 Sakae, Naka-ku Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Tokyo, Store-within-a-store, Isetan Shinjuku Men, Isetan Shinjuku Men's-Kan 3F, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Tokyo, Store-within-a-store, Isetan Shinjuku Women, Isetan Shinjuku Annex Building 4F, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Tokyo, Store-within-a-store, Shibuya Seibu Men, Seibu Shibuya Annex B 1F/4F, 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Tokyo, Store-within-a-store, Shibuya Seibu Women, Seibu Shibuya Annex B 1F/4F, 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Seoul, Store-within-a-store, 2F, Shinsegae Department Store Kangnam Branch, 19-3 Banpo-dong, Seocho-ku, Seoul.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Kobe, Dainichi-Akashicho Building 18, Akashi-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan.[53]
  • Helmut Lang Parfums New York, 81 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012.[54]


  • Helmut Lang Studio, 142 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012.[55]
  • Helmut Lang Made-to-Measure New York, 142 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012.[55]


  • Helmut Lang Paris, 219 Rue Saint-Honore, 75001, Paris.[56]
  • Helmut Lang Milan (new location), Via della Spiga, 11, Milan, 20121.[57]

Fragrance Projects[edit]

Four different scents were created by Lang in cooperation with Procter & Gamble, all of which were discontinued with the 2005 closing of the brand.

  • Helmut Lang (Women's) - 2000
  • Helmut Lang Pour Homme (Men's) - 2001
  • Helmut Lang Velviona (women's and men's) - limited release available exclusively at New York store - 2001
  • Helmut Lang Cuiron (men's) - 2002


  • CFDA, Best International Designer of the Year, 1996.
  • VH-1/Vogue Award, Best Menswear Designer of the Year, 1997.
  • Fine Arts of Vienna, 1997.
  • Pitti Immagine Award, Best Designer of the Nineties, 1998.
  • New York Magazine Best Designer of the Year Award, 1998.
  • I.D. Magazine, Design Distinction Award for Environments, 1998.
  • NYC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects: Award for Interiors, 1998.
  • Business Week/Architectural Record Award, 1999.
  • The American Institute of Architects, Award for Interior Architecture, 1999.
  • CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year, 2000.
  • GQ Designer of the Year, 2004.
  • Fashion Group International,“The Imagineers of Our Time" Award, 2004.
  • LEAD Award, 2005.
  • Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, 2009[58]


Key interviews


  1. ^ a b Seabrook, John (18 September 2000). "The Invisible Designer: Helmut Lang". New Yorker. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Bain, Marc. "How Helmut Lang Changed Fashion". The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b Craven, Jo. "Helmut Lang". Vogue UK. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b Schneier, Matthew (9 September 2017). "Helmut Lang Returns! Or Does He?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  6. ^ Wilson, Eric (26 May 2005). "Decline and Fall of Helmut Lang". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 March 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ a b [3]
  10. ^ "kestnergesellschaft". Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  11. ^ [4][permanent dead link]
  12. ^ hl-art "Helmut Lang Exhibitions"[permanent dead link].
  13. ^ [5][permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Purple Fashion Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Purple Institute, 2007.
  15. ^ Zahm, Olivier Langfroid, Artforum International, October 1995.
  16. ^ a b c d e f hl-art "Helmut Lang Bio"[permanent dead link].
  17. ^ Seabrook, John "The Invincible Designer" Archived 12 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The New Yorker, 18 September 2000.
  18. ^ Boyd, Davis. "Helmut Lang" Fashion Windows [6] Archived 5 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. 2 March 2001
  19. ^ Cressole, Michel. “Une Lancinante Variation en Jersey Zippé" (Review: Helmut Lang A/W 86-87 Collection). Liberation. 1986
  20. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “The Avant-Garde’s Offensive”. International Herald Tribune. 18 Oct.
  21. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “The Avant-Garde Plunges Back To The Middle Ages”. International Herald Tribune. 16 March 1993
  22. ^ Spindler, Amy M. “Lang Points The Way to a New Elegance”. The New York Times. 7 March 1994
  23. ^ Spindler, Amy M. “In Paris, The Outsiders Are Officially In”. The New York Times. 16 Oct
  24. ^ Spindler, Amy M. “Another Sure Step at Helmut Lang”. The New York Times. 15 March 1996
  25. ^ Middleton, Sharon. “Jeans: The Lang View”. Women’s Wear Daily. 14 November 1996
  26. ^ Spindler, Amy M. “The Wild, The Seductive, The Hip”. The New York Times. 12 October 2006.
  27. ^ Prigent, Loic. “Ailes d’Ange et Bottines Rouge Sang” Liberation. 17 Mar
  28. ^ “Helmut’s Angel”. Women’s Wear Daily. 17 March 2007.
  29. ^ Contemporary fashion Archive, "project: helmut lang flagship store new york with installation by jenny holzer" Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine 1 January 1997
  30. ^ Foley, Bridget. “The Line From Lang”. Women’s Wear Daily. 17 July 1998
  31. ^ White, Constance C.R. “No Crush: The CD-ROM Runway”. The New York Times. 1 April 1998
  32. ^ Foley, Bridget. “Lang Sets Early Date For His New York Show”. Women’s Wear Daily. 7 July 1998.
  33. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Fast-Forward American Designers Show Their Colors”. International Herald Tribune. 22 September 1998.
  34. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “European Designers Score on Creativity in New York:”. International Herald Tribune. 21 September 1999
  35. ^ Borgonovo, Carmen. “Lang’s New Angle.” Women’s Wear Daily. 13 September 1999
  36. ^ Armstrong, Lisa. “Enter Millennium Woman”. The Times. 22 December 2000.
  37. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Bondage to Graphics: Sex in The City”. International Herald Tribune 23 September 2000.
  38. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Body Language, Laud and Clear”. International Herald Tribune. 20 February 2001
  39. ^ Deeny, Godfrey. “Helmut Lang to Stage Men’s Collection in Paris”. Fashion Wire Daily. 28 May 2002.
  40. ^ Mouzat, Virgine. “Emanuel Ungaro, Le Sud, Helmut Lang, Le Retour, Le Figaro. 5 October 2002.
  41. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [7] Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine 4 October 2002
  42. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Lang Solves The Puzzle”. International Herald Tribune, 8 March], 2003.
  43. ^ a b Contemporary Fashion Archive "fashion product: t-shirt and cd. collaboration louise bourgeois/helmut lang" Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine 1 January 2003
  44. ^ Deeny, Godfrey.”Helmut Lang Goes Into Action”. Fashion Wire Daily, 27 January 2003
  45. ^ Frankel, Susannah. “ New-Look Lang Embraces a Rainbow of Colors”. The Independent, 10 October. 2003
  46. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Helmut Lang and His Search For Modern Romance”. International Herald Tribune, 5 March 2004.
  47. ^ Menkes, Suzy, “Lang: Luxury With a Glint”. International Herald Tribune, 27 January 2004.
  48. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive "fashion product: janus in leather jacket. collaboration louise bourgeois/helmut lang" Archived 27 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine 1 March 2004
  49. ^ Menkes, Suzy. “Upscale Architecture at Saint Laurent; Dior Revived Grunge”. International Herald Tribune, 6 July 2004.
  50. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [8] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [9] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  52. ^ Fashion Windows "Helmut Lang" Archived 5 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h i Socha, Miles. "Helmut Lang Furthers Asian Retail Expansion". Women's Wear Daily 4 August 2000
  54. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [10] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  55. ^ a b Alfano, Jennifer. "Inner Sanctum". V Man September 2004
  56. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [11] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  57. ^ Contemporary Fashion Archive [12] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  58. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1897. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  59. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 February 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]