Archivist David Casavant has amassed more than 1,000 pieces of vintage Raf Simons and Helmut Lang – he shows us his collection
Rihanna loves a certain pair of Helmut Lang ripped jeans. So much so that she keeps coming back to borrow them from David Casavant, a 25-year-old stylist whose Manhattan archive boasts more than 1,000 pieces each of vintage Raf Simons and Helmut Lang. Paul McCartney wore his Helmut jean jacket in the video for “FourFiveSeconds”, Kanye borrowed an AW01 Raf Simons bomber to meet the man himself, and Travis Scott’s “Antidote” video is pretty much an extended advert for Casavant’s archive (all but one look came from Casavant).
For the most part, it’s the celebrities’ stylists that stop by Casavants digs to shop for their star clients. Kanye West, however, popped by in person, keen to check out his collection. “I’m used to working with dumb celebrities that don’t know anything,” begins Casavant. “It’s really refreshing to have a rapper who knows fashion history and knows what these garments mean.”
“It’s really refreshing to have a rapper who knows fashion history and knows what these garments mean” – David Casavant on Kanye West
Starting out as a teen, Casavant began to sniff out underpriced Raf on eBay. His collection soon expanded to include Helmut Lang, Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein Collection and, more recently, younger designers like Craig Green and Grace Wales Bonner. In the 11 years since he’s been building up his archive, he has snatched up some amazing finds, rare Helmut AW03 bondage chaps and early Raf bombers among them.
Rather than being precious about his clothes, Casavant enjoys seeing them “lived in” and used for stage performances. “All my pieces could be locked away in a museum where you can’t touch them or use them,” he explains. “The big deal for me is that my clothes get to be used. I don’t want them to be locked away. It keeps life in them for people to wear them, otherwise they’re just clothes.”
In the gallery below, Casavant offers commentary on his favourites from the archive.