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Helmut Lang by Peter Do SS24 NYFW debut womenswear
Photography Cris Fragkou

What went down at Peter Do’s big Helmut Lang debut

The hyped designer just presented his first collection at the head of the house on day one of New York Fashion Week

When Peter Do was announced as the new creative director of Helmut Lang earlier this year, it felt like something great was sliding into place. After cutting his teeth under Phoebe Philo at Celine, the NY-based designer has been rising through the ranks of fashion across the course of the last five years, with his namesake shows some of the most anticipated and thrill-inducing on the New York Fashion Week schedule. Fast forward to today, and Do kicked off the SS24 womenswear season with his debut show for the house. Naturally, Dazed was on the sidelines taking in all the action, so if you didn’t make the cut for a front row ticket, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know from one of the biggest moments on this season’s fashion calendar.


The New York girlies were out in force to support Do, with the likes of Indya Moore, Hari Nef, Amandla Stenberg, and Zola’s Taylour Paige all piling into the venue and taking their seats on the front row. The space itself was the Skylight building at Essex Crossing – an unassuming, cavernous building propped up by sturdy concrete columns. The whole thing had a suitably stripped-back minimalist vibe – it was when you looked down at your feet that things got interesting.


Do’s Vietnamese heritage is integral to his work as a designer, and his collections are imbued with great meaning – past seasons have seen him pay tribute to his late father and the traditional pho they used to cook together every Sunday, and he often boils up a big bowl of soup for his team to sit and eat together in the studio through the week. It made sense, then, that Do would tap revered Vietnamese poet Ocean Vuong for a vast collaboration. The first part of that which made itself visible was the original prose that was plastered across the cold, poured concrete floor of the space. Indebted to the mega-famous mid 90s campaign which saw Helmut Lang join forces with artist Jenny Holzer, Vuong’s words became the stage on which Do’s debut collection took its first steps, and a way for the designer to bridge the past and the future. 

Alongside the catwalk installation, Vuong – calling himself a secret photographer – contributed a selection of intimate images, which were printed onto silk scarves attendees found placed on their seats and dotted throughout Do’s clothes themselves. “I could not think of a better time to ‘come out’ as an image maker than through this historic moment, wherein, for the first time, a Vietnamese American is at the helm of this radical and groundbreaking fashion house – and one with such an immensely beautiful mind and heart as Peter Do,” Vuong captioned a poignant post on Instagram. “My work here has been treated with the utmost respect, care, and dignity, and I’m truly proud of what we’ve accomplished. I have always felt that fashion, and clothes making, is also an articulation.” 

Do’s move to incorporate Vuong’s work into his show echoes the time Proenza Schouler enlisted My Year of Rest and Relaxation author Ottessa Moshfegh to write an original verse for the label’s AW22 show notes – perhaps a literary trend is afoot. Otherwise, a related side note: this is your sign to pick up a copy of Vuong’s heartbreakingly beautiful 2019 book On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous if you haven’t already – you won’t regret it. 


Though Helmut Lang changed the shape of fashion forever, the OG was never about reinventing the wheel. Instead, it was about creating beautiful clothes that can actually be worn, which is why Peter Do was such a stellar choice for the role of top dog at the house. The designer has a real knack for brilliant tailoring, and so from the very first look – a slick tuxedo-esque black suit and white shirt, finished with flashes of bolshy, luxe fuchsia – suiting was out in force. Boxy, oversized blazers came with cut-away arms and panels – now a recognisable Do signature – while trousers were cut loose, louche, and languid. Military-like flourishes offered an interesting element, with chunky ribbons in clashing hues criss-crossing across shoulders and around waists. 

A-line pinafore dresses bubble hems and chiffon panels that billowed out behind their wearer were sleek but playful, while slinky, evening-appropriate second-skin minis came ruched and wrapped around the body, in combos of black, marigold yellow, and yet more hot, poppy lipstick pink. Outerwear has long been Do’s strong suit – his hulking cocoon coats invoking oohs and aahs from the usually unshakeable fashion crowd at his namesake shows – and they were plentiful here, though not quite so XXL in proportion. Denim came crisp and indigo, in baggy, utilitarian jumpsuits, or otherwise classic wide-leg jeans completed with 90s prepster-style tucked in shirts.

The whole offering was a lesson in restraint, with Do careful not to dive too headlong into the tempting Lang archive and become too retrospective, but flourishes dug up from the vaults came through via photographic prints and logo detailing, blown up and blasted across big crisp cotton shirts and classic everyday t-shirts and vests alongside extracts from Vuong's prose. And newsflash: the zig-zag headband is well and truly back.

All in all, a brilliant debut – congratulations to Do and his whole team.