(New York Fashion Week – Helmut Lang) Bra bags and a whiff of bondageWorld | 13 Sep 2017 8:13 pm
Shayne Oliver, guest designer at Helmut Lang, injected a jolt of energy into the proceedings with a raucous and sexy show that included leather bras of every kind, as in tiny leather "bralettes” and huge, brassiere-shaped handbags.
These were not your mother’s bras. In reality, they were not anyone’s bras that you’ve ever seen — at least, not yet.
Oliver showed a raucous audience at the Helmut Lang show just how flexible the concept of a bra can be. Perhaps his most intriguing concoction: the bra bag, worn around the chest, but zippable at the top to form an actual functioning satchel. Of course it was worn outside the clothing — you could wear it underneath, but what would be the point of that?
Then there were all the teensy "bralettes” in black leather: strappy and sexy, sometimes barely covering the intended area — and sometimes, totally not trying.
Oliver, 29, is best known for his provocative streetwear label Hood By Air, which announced it was going on hold earlier this year and that Oliver would be focusing on his gig at Helmut Lang. He was hired by Isabella Burley, the label’s "editor in residence,” as one of a planned succession of guest designers creating capsule collections. (Lang himself left the label 12 years ago.) This collection was called "Helmut Lang Seen By Shayne Oliver.”
The runway show Monday night in SoHo included both women and men, and hardly seemed to differentiate by gender in terms of garments — a man could wear a corset or heels, just as a woman could. The runway was also not reserved for millennials: Kristen Owen, 46, a longtime Lang model, walked here, among other names from the past.
This being Lang, there was a whiff of bondage in many of the ensembles — leather straps and harnesses everywhere — but also an air of playfulness. By the time the techno soundtrack morphed into a finale of Whitney Houston’s "I Have Nothing,” people in the crowd were whooping with glee. (That crowd was heavy with rappers and music figures like Cardi B, Offset of the rap trio Migos, Lil Yachty, A$AP Ferg and Diplo.)
Many in attendance, of course, were too young to have been fans of Lang himself in his heyday (the Austrian-born designer, now 61, is an artist living on Long Island). But Oliver said backstage that Lang’s influence on fashion remains strong.
"He taught people how to be sensual, in the right way,” he said.