Everyday Armor: Helmut Lang Autumn/Winter 2024 by Peter Do
Peter Do’s sophomore collection for the iconic American house questioned the functionality of clothes New Yorkers wear everyday. Are clothes armor or adornment? Protection of Projection? Or all at once?
We live in a world of chaos, so New Yorkers should be prepared for everything, and the designers should tailor clothes that predict unpredictability. Think, padded knitwear with placement, inspired by no other than astronaut suiting, and viscose hole-punch dresses and suiting (formalwear!) inspired by perforated construction tapes. And let’s not forget about the zippers that can in one instant transform the garment, if a New Yorker wants to shield himself from the Northern wind, to cocoon at his favorite coffee shop or reveal a lit bit of skin on a casual date on a Friday night.
“Eager for privacy, comfort, ease, structure. We see your need for versatility, variation, and the extremes at both ends of the spectrum. We took the architecture of emotionality and sewed its ends to life”, the designer came up with a whole philosophical concept in his show notes that explained even better where he wants to bring Helmut Lang. Which looks like a wardrobe for always-busy, but never-not-stylish New York City legends.
Accessories-wise, Peter Do decided to focus on functionality. That’s why, his silhouettes were styled with all types of bags, from mini half-moon models, belt bags and “toolboxes” to very big spacious ones stamped with a Helmut Lang signature, and weaponized hill-heeled shoes for women, and flat galvanized Oxfords for men, featuring steel toe caps. There were also some balaclavas involved, practical for extremely cold winters and occasions where you want to keep low-profile.
What else could offer mega-protection? Oversized double-face wool coats and shiny nylon padded puffers that shield face and ears, but never mess up with hair. After all, we are talking about ambitious New Yorkers who always dress to the nines.
Peter Do, for his second collection for Helmut Lang, invited his guests to Brooklyn, to a vast space that used to house the former Williamsburg Savings Bank. The collection, entitled “Protection VS Projection” was an ode to a typical New Yorker’s everyday wardrobe. In other words, to a city dweller’s armor, made up of functional and hyper-adaptable clothes, shoes and bags, that, according to Do’s shownotes, “offer mega-protection as well as project who we are to the world”.
Do opened the show, composed of 50 looks, with a newly-developed fabric of silk bubble wrap, used to make bulletproof vests, bomber jackets and pants. A true show-stopper, this fabric looked especially seducing when Irina Shayk walked the runway in a fireman's safety orange silhouette. Other highlights included Hong Kong’s iconic red-white-blue bag prints, splashed and mismatched across denim, jacquard knits, and hand woven leather pants.
Text: LIDIA AGEEVA