Helmut Lang kicks off NY fashion week with bubble wrap and balaclavas

Do revisited the inventions of his artistic ancestors, including colored bubble wrap made from silk worn as pants (Charly TRIBALLEAU)
Do revisited the inventions of his artistic ancestors, including colored bubble wrap made from silk worn as pants (Charly TRIBALLEAU)

Bubble wrap, balaclavas and puffy jackets took center stage at the Helmut Lang show that kicked off New York Fashion Week on Friday.

"I feel like living in New York, a lot can happen in a day. So I feel like I want to provide a tool for you to be ready for whatever it takes," said Vietnamese-American designer Peter Do following the show.

An in-demand designer who also heads his own line, Do was tasked with reinventing Helmut Lang's chic and minimalist aesthetic, which shaped fashion in the 1990s and 2000s, before the Austrian designer quit.

Now the brand belongs to Japanese giant Fast Retailing, which also owns Uniqlo.

Under the dome of a former bank in Brooklyn's trendy Williamsburg, Do revisited the inventions of his artistic ancestors, including colored bubble wrap made from silk worn as pants and jackets.

Oversized wool coats, quilted jackets, turtlenecks, hoods, balaclavas reinforced the collection's "protection and projection" themes.

Some were inspired by space suits, while the color palette echoed the bright, almost fluorescent orange of the past.

"I just want to see the street represented," Do said.

With a dozen shows a day until mid-week, the Big Apple heralds the start of the Autumn-Winter 2024 ready-to-wear fashion weeks, ahead of London, then Milan and Paris.

Testament to Lang's influence, the schedule was changed in the late 90s when he decided to leave Paris for New York, so that the US megacity would come first.

A number of heavyweights and renowned American ready-to-wear designers are expected this season, including Tommy Hilfiger later Friday, followed by Michael Kors, Thom Browne and Tory Burch.

Carolina Herrera and Gabriela Hearst are also on the calendar.

Paris-based designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin, a proponent of intimate, androgynous designs, will also make a rare detour to New York with a show on Sunday evening.

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