“What to wear for a new century?” asked Laird Borrelli-Persson of Vogue.
Helmut Lang’s answer lies in his AW1999 show 'Séance de Travail', undoubtedly one of his most highly regarded. Amidst the uncertainty of the new millennium, Lang explored themes of safety, protection and survival through his prominent use of hi-vis orange, dubbed “safety orange” and NASA-like space age reflective silver, along with military inspired khaki green. Heavy duty and versatile, the garments were reassuring armour for the every day.
Much of the outerwear also had practical elements, with coats and jackets that had straps to be worn as backpacks, appearing parachute-like from the rear.
True to form, he played on the notion of uniforms as protective body armour with puffy outerwear and heavy duty pants, as well as harsh black leathers juxtaposed by divinely crisp white bodysuits. Intertwined amongst all this was his trademark sharp tailoring.
Many of the silhouettes and colours from the show have become hallmarks of the Helmut Lang brand of today. Despite being long gone from the fashion world, Lang’s vision for the 21st century remains as relevant as ever.