As someone who is known for defining 90s fashion with “his austere, utilitarian and sportswear-inspired design” (Fashion Now, Taschen), Helmut Lang has introduced a few punk elements within the pieces that are currently in stores. He continues with the simple, rather androgynous, silhouette that he has introduced into fashion, yet the prints are evocative of a time when fashion was not in fashion. The tie-dye print, reminiscent of the anti-fashion hippies from the late 60s, is a monochrome one, remaining consistent with Lang’s minimalism. Yet, what I found more interesting is his cellophane print. Not only does it resonate with a punk aesthetics,  but it is printed on a soft cotton jersey, thus creating a most striking contrast of the senses, between sight and feel.  It is also a graphic expression of the bondage styles promoted by the Sex Pistols. Since we’re talking punk and Sex Pistols, we’re at the point where it would be somewhat of a profanity  not to mention Vivienne Westwood, the Queen of Punk. As you all probably know, or should know, the starting point of punk fashion is in 1970 when Vivienne Westwood and her partner, Malcolm McLaren, open the shop Let It Rock at 430 Kings Road, Chelsea in London as a showcase for their ideas. Yet punk style is actually born in 1976 when the band the Sex Pistols play their first gig wearing clothes from the shop at 430 Kings Road, which has by now been renamed Seditonaries. And it is a fact that Dame Vivienne Westwood “never forgot the surrealist spirit of the punk style era” (Fashion, Volume II, Taschen). Did I say Dame? Yes, because in 1991, the Queen, this time the one of England, awarded Westwood with an OBE, in what I believe to be a rather subversive intention of making her “a part of the establishment she continues to oppose” (Fashion Now, Taschen). She is, and always will be, a fashion icon, and such as Lang, this was achieved without any formal training.  Even if nowadays, a head-to-toe punk outfit is reserved for the enthusiast punker, punk fashion is most certainly not dead. Hints of its aesthetics are still being introduced in runway collections and applauded by the fashion crowd.
I’m wearing a Helmut Lang draped cardigan . . .
. . . with a pair of black LESILLA shoes, which have a cutout studded platform.
The draped black jumpsuit is Stefanel and it has an asymmetric top part that you will probably see in a future post.
Regarding unusual choices in fabrics, or fabric prints, I’ve been wanting to tell you about Rachel Barrett, the recent Royal College of Art MA graduate, who has become a favourite of the over-the-top Lady Gaga. The designer plays with contrasts, incorporating both rubber and lace in her work. And these are not the only fetish elements which she uses for her creations, while exploring “the female form and the trapped space between body and dress” (Dazed&Confused, Issue 84, Music x Fashion Special). This is really one to watch for.
And speaking of Dazed&Confused, the same issue as above has an article on the band Stavin’ Chains, which I already mention in a previous post in the Pen Pal section on Clare. I particularly liked percussionist Heathcote Ruthven’s quote: “Some people are afraid to use the word punk because of the connotations it’s developed, but punk is more vague that people give it credit for. When I say punk I don’t mean just John Lydon, or those kids with mohawks in Camden that sit around doing nothing all day. And I don’t mean nihilism either. For me, punk is the idea that anyone can do anything, and that’s a good starting point.”