Helmut Lang: I’m not talking about the fashion brand that you find racked at Neiman Marcus, the eponymous designer departed his namesake label back in 2005 after selling it to the Prada Group, I’m talking about Helmut Lang the artist. Fast forward 10+ years since selling his business Mr Lang has quietly and patiently been creating sculptures in his East Hampton studio, and in February, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Lang at his home and tour his studio.
A pioneer in many ways, in the early 90s Lang became synonymously identified with the minimalist fashion movement, along with Calvin Klein, Prada and Jil Sander. Showing his collection in Paris since 1986, Vienna-born Lang single-handedly changed the fashion week schedule in ’98 by moving his show from Paris to New York. Then showing his collection first, six weeks early—Donna Karan and Calvin Klein followed after that, and New York has remained the first fashion week on the schedule since then. Also, in ‘98 Lang became the first designer to present his collection on the Internet, pre-millennium, pre-dot-com crash, this feat was unheard of at that time, setting precedence amongst his peers. That same year, Lang collaborated with photographers Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber to create an advertising campaign that would include advertising on New York Taxi Cabs, a first for any fashion house—during his fashion career Lang also collaborated with conceptual artist Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois.
I travelled to Manhattan with a small art crew of Lang supporters from the Dallas Contemporary and we all journeyed to East Hampton to meet with Mr Lang in advance of his upcoming museum debut “Burry” in Dallas this month. Angela Westwater of Sperone Westwater Gallery, who represents Helmut Lang also joined us on our visit to his Oceanside home and studio, along with Peter Doroshenko, executive director of the Dallas Contemporary on a freezing, crisp snowy morning. East Hampton looked spectacular as we arrived with leaf-barren trees covered in icicles, a perfect blue sky, and a warm sun that kept the chill at bay. Mr Lang, his partner Edward Pavlick and their pup, Abe greeted us and gave us a private tour of his studio including the newly completed pieces of artwork will be showcased at the Dallas exhibition.