NYFW 2023: Helmut Lang’s Ode to New York’s Cosmopolitan Street Landscape and Transient Luxury

Helmut Lang, a renowned designer celebrated for leaving an enduring mark on New York fashion, was recognized for his minimalist yet intellectually and artfully inclined creations. Despite accolades from the fashion elite, Do, in his role at Helmut Lang, is now focused on making this vision accessible to a wider audience, particularly New Yorkers. He aims to establish a novel approach to dressing, ensuring that everyone can visit a store and acquire a high-quality suit or durable pair of jeans without breaking the bank. Do openly acknowledges that the pricing for this line will be considerably more affordable than what’s typically associated with his eponymous label. His intent is to have Helmut Lang pieces become cherished staples in people’s wardrobes, each with its own unique story.

On the day of the show, Do unveiled the Helmut Lang Spring 2024 collection in the vibrant Lower East Side of New York. The theme of the collection resonated with the city’s essence, featuring decor inspired by its iconic yellow taxis, which were reimagined and abstracted onto clothing using silk-screen techniques. The collection included classic all-black ensembles embodying quintessential New York City style, punctuated by bursts of color that celebrated everyday essentials like jeans and trousers. The blazers, a hallmark of the brand, were adorned with harness-like straps in black and fuchsia, paying homage to Lang’s original color palette and reminiscent of the seatbelt straps found in taxi cabs. The collection was dominated by sheer cashmere sweaters made from cutting-edge fabrics. It featured an abundance of suiting and denim garments with abstract taxi cab imagery, as well as button-down shirts printed with poetic language that expressed the experiences of being queer and Asian in America, inspired by the writings of Ocean Vuong. The deliberately commercial aesthetic was a deliberate choice, reflecting the brand’s intention to appeal to a broader audience.

Do has not only excelled in contemporary minimalism but also has deep-seated storytelling abilities. His collection revolved around the theme of transience and the automobile. The collection’s focal point was the quintessential New York City subway announcement, “stand clear of the closing doors,” echoing through the venue’s speakers. During the final walk, models dispersed throughout the space, briskly striding as if on a typical morning commute.

Do’s inspiration for this collection harks back to his early years when he relocated to Philadelphia at the age of 14. It was during this time that he had one of his first encounters with luxury—a ride in a car. This experience held particular significance for him, having grown up in a rural area of Vietnam where cars were a rare sight. It led him to view the functional and often overlooked automobile in a remarkably beautiful light.