The name Helmut Lang is instantly associated with the 1990s. However, since his retirement from fashion in 2005, the pragmatic designer has remained an inscrutable figure. Until Anthony Vaccarello, creative director of Saint Laurent approached him to work on a project together two years ago. Vaccarello, originally from Belgium but with Sicilian roots, has taken the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent and reinterpreted it on his own terms since 2016.
Initially, Vaccarello's proposal for Lang began as the creation of a joint denim collection. However, Helmut Lang has left the world of fashion in the past, so doing something artistic was the only way to capture the interest of the former designer. That is how Helmut Lang x Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent Rive Droite emerged, a provocative installation takes up archival pieces from the French Maison, including samples of garments and accessories that for some reason did not physically end up in the collections and transforms them. Lang mixed all these Saint Laurent objects with a pigmented resin. Using these raw materials the Austrian made sculptures with aluminum molds, which bear similarities to totems.
This true iconoclastic alchemy was the same that Helmut Lang himself applied with his archive a few years ago. Reduce everything to pieces, to usher in a new era. Vacarello, like Lang, does not feel chained to material things. So his fascination for the Austrian designer lies on the one hand, in his ability to detach himself from what he did magnificently and destroy everything, releasing the physical attachment but maintaining the emotional one. According to these two creatives, clothing is not sacred and can become a vehicle for creative transformation to deconstruct concepts and build new creative horizons from scratch.
The installation is now available at the Saint Laurent flagship store on Rue St. Honoré, which will be moved to the Rive Droite store in the city of Los Angeles after the brand's show.