It looks like Helmut Lang is really shaking things up. In a new announcement, Helmut Lang CEO Andrew Rosen named Isabella Burley as the brand’s editor-in-residence. Burley is also editor-in-chief of alt-fashion bible Dazed and in an unprecedented first move, she has tasked Hood by Air’s (HBA) Shayne Oliver to work on a new capsule collection for Helmut Lang. The announcement comes shortly after HBA’s very public cancellation of its Paris Fashion Week FW17 show.
According to Business of Fashion, the rumors around Oliver's involvement with Helmut Lang were already spreading last month. With the confirmed exit of former Helmut Lang menswear creative director Alexandre Plokhov, Burley and Oliver's presence is thought to fill that gap. Oliver's collection is considered to be the first of other designer capsule collections helmed by Burley, who also plans to revamp Helmut Lang's digital identity and website as soon as Summer 2017.
It is unclear as to what capacity Oliver will remain with Helmut Lang, but Hood By Air remains very much a part of his life. A representative for Hood By Air told BOF: "Shayne is currently focusing his time on the special project with Helmut Lang. As a result, HBA will be continued but is transitioning to accommodate this. We will be releasing more information soon.”
Oliver's HBA line garnered critical acclaim for his envelope-pushing designs that toed the line between fetish and club culture, with touches of street fashion, like the "Avalanche" boot silhouette that mashed-up 6-inch Timberland boots with motifs from several sneakers like the Nike Huarache and Air Yeezy 2. When melded with Helmut Lang's rich design history, Oliver's tendencies can toe the line between fashion-forward and a more mass commercial appeal.
Originally helmed by iconic Austrian fashion designer Helmut Lang, the brand was bought by Link Theory Holdings back in 2008, a fully owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing, the Japanese conglomerate behind Uniqlo. The brand has carried on without any involvement from its namesake designer since 2005.
Since its launch in the early 2010s, Hood By Air has become one of the definitive forces of the New York fashion scene, working to blur the juncture between streetwear and high fashion, and queering the runways with a genderless approach to fashion.
It’s expected that Burley will use her extensive network of creative collaborators in her new position, in order to continue a rotating selection of specially commissioned capsule collections for Helmut Lang with multifarious designers and creatives, as well as oversee the brand's digital relaunch which will likely be unveiled this summer.
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