Helmut Lang fans rejoice! Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver has been tapped to design a new line of women’s and men’s clothes for the brand that will drop this September. Now for the bad news: this means it’s unclear when we’ll get another HBA collection (you may recall the brand cancelled its presentation at this year’s Paris Fashion Week).
“Shayne is currently focusing his time on the special project with Helmut Lang,” and HBA rep told Business of Fashion. “As a result, HBA will be continued but is transitioning to accommodate this. We will be releasing more information soon.”
The decision to name Oliver a collaborating designer was apparently the brainchild of Dazed editor Isabella Burley, who was recently given the title of editor-in-residence at Helmut Lang. Designer Alexandre Plokhov, who was appointed in 2014, has departed the label.
Photography: Steven Meisel
Hopefully, Oliver can breathe some life into the seminal brand, which has often struggled to maintain the urgency of its artistic vision following Lang’s departure to become a visual artist in 2005. Born in Minnestota and raised in Brooklyn and Trinidad, Oliver began making t-shirts for friends after dropping out of NYU and FIT in 2006. Thanks to bold graphics, oversized fits, and fashion’s sudden hunger for streetwear-inspired designers, HBA quickly became a zeitgeisty brand worn by the likes of Drake, Rihanna, and the downtown set.
“Helmut Lang is a pioneering company and we are going back to its heritage of being bold,” said Helmut Lang exec Andrew Rosen, who is responsible for bringing Burley on board.
Indeed, Lang’s influence on contemporary fashion — namely, the minimalist, drapey, asymmetrical, androgynous look that’s so popular these days — is undeniable, with riffs on his creations visible on the runways of everyone from Alexander Wang to Kanye West. And, of course, Hood by Air itself.
Vogue‘s Sarah Mower once wrote that if Yves Saint Laurent was the ’70s and Giorgio Armani the ’80s, then Helmut Lang was the undeniable embodiment of the ’90s. Perhaps with a hot young designer like Shayne Oliver on board, the brand can be the 2010s, too.