In the height of his career amid the ’90s, Helmut Lang was the pinnacle of luxury fashion and defined some of the most coveted trends of the decade whilst pioneering new and interesting silhouettes. Furthermore, he was the first designer to ‘stream’ a runway show many years before the invention of internet live streaming. In 2005, the designer retired from the fashion industry and has only just returned for an art collaboration with Saint Laurent Artistic Director, Anthony Vaccarello.
As part of the Saint Laurent Rive Droite project – a concept YSL boutique in the heart of Paris – Vaccarello has tapped Lang to reuse deadstock fabric and unused hardware for a large-scale sculptural piece. Shredded, mixed with a pigmented resin and then moulded in aluminium, these former fashion objects have become primal totems with unique textures reminiscing both, a precious past and a promising future.
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As part of the Saint Laurent creative’s ongoing inspiration, the partnership with Lang is a perfect intersection of style and art. Also concerned with modern issues like sustainability, durability, lasting power of the ever-shifting nature of fashion collections and cycles, Vaccarello has found the perfect interlocutor for a project that is also a dialogue.
“I always had the utmost respect for the work of Yves, and Anthony has created an unparalleled vision for YSL, furthering the house’s legacy in a truly contemporary way,” Lang told Business of Fashion. “But, more significantly, Anthony was the first person in fashion to engage in a collaboration focusing on my artwork.”
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“I consider him at the same level as someone like Coco Chanel for the way he brought realness into fashion, something that everyone is still copying,” Vaccarello said. “Helmut was the first to stand up against artificial promotional messages, his vision and art direction brought everyone back to the real and meaningful essence of fashion.”
The sculptures will be displayed at Rive Droite, first in Paris from September 30 to October 30, then in Los Angeles and then will be available for sale.