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Backstage at Helmut Lang Seen by Shayne Oliver SS18Photography Lillie Eiger

Shayne Oliver’s Helmut Lang makes next-level NYFW debut

Last night Dazed’s Isabella Burley presented her first collection as editor-in-residence, designed by Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver

To a packed-out audience which included Cardi B and Lil Yachty, Hood By Air designer Shayne Oliver last night revealed his collection for Helmut Lang. Working with Dazed Editor-in-Chief and Lang Editor-in-Residence Isabella Burley, the designer put on a frenetic show, with pounding, abrasive music that somehow transformed into Whitney Houston, some of the most creative accessories we’ve seen in a while, and a strong, diverse, and brilliantly freaky cast of underground muses. Here’s what you missed.

THERE WAS A MERCH COLLECTION REVEALED PRE-SHOW

Unveiled online via a series of polaroids in the hours before the show, Oliver created a line of limited edition merch for the collection. Officially called the Helmut Lang Seen by Shayne Oliver Autumn Tour Merch collection, it was Oliver’s way of referencing how his stint at the brand feels as if he’s on tour. “The inspiration,” he told Vogue.com, “came simply from music bands and the concept of being able to leave the best show you’ve ever been to with a tangible piece of the show. This is a concept that I believe the fashion world should start to understand more.” And there’s good news: the bold, graphic hoodies and t-shirts are available to buy today.

IT WAS A DECONSTRUCTED, S&M, SHAYNE OLIVER TAKE ON HELMUT

Knowing Oliver’s work (this is the designer who once had models prowl the corridors of a gay bathhouse in Paris, clawing at the audience before jumping in the pool) it’s not surprising he looked to the brand’s erotically-charged past for inspiration. There were bondage straps and references galore, with lots of leather, heavy chains, and even some o-ring-accessorised thongs for the boys. There were some more straightforward Lang nods, too – like the red t-shirt which resembled an archive campaign design.

TAILORING AND EVENING WEAR WAS ALSO KEY

The collection also had its sporty, minimalist moments (like one all blue look), as well as a strong line of tailoring and even evening wear. There were sharp coats and jackets which buckled around the waist, including one particularly intriguing white coat which looked like a pair of trousers beneath the collar. The final procession of looks was a gauzy, fluid take on night-time dressing, with semi-sheer fabric that slid over models’ bodies.

SOME OLD HELMUT FAVOURITES RETURNED TO THE RUNWAY

Kristen Owen once shared a finale walk with the original designer, and was both the face of the brand and a mainstay on its runways. She appeared in the show in a white suit jacket, mini skirt and bra, and there was also an appearance from Jake Boyle, who walked for the brand in the early noughties and starred in a Lang-themed line up with the likes of Jenny Holzer and Stella Tennant in a 2003 Vogue Paris shoot. As well as a gang of leading models (Selena Forrest opened, followed not long after by Slick Woods and Duckie Thot) NYC nightlife queen Sophia Lamar also walked, going out with only some Helmut pasties and an underwire. Finally, the fashion industry’s second model criminal took a turn: Mekhi Alante Lucky, a 19-year-old from North Carolina with a viral mugshot and some pretty striking eyes.

BRA HANDBAGS AND NEWSPAPERS WERE THE ACCESSORIES

Yep, you heard that right. Who doesn’t want a leather bra you can transform into a handbag? Some models walked clutching Helmut-branded newspaper bags to their heads, while other carried perspex briefcases, or wore duffle bags, leather utility vests, branded belts and more.