Document goes backstage at the minimalist brand’s Fall/Winter 2024 presentation, revealing the archival influences behind the runway

Peter Do set his second collection for Helmut Lang at the Williamsburg Savings Bank, which was draped floor-to-ceiling in white netting, with dusky golden lighting and thick smoke. The runway opener was Kirsten Owen, a long-time muse of the house, sporting a white shirt and trousers in a silk that resembled fine bubble wrap. What followed were faithful archetypes of Lang’s trademark minimalism, each a tableau of wet hair and charcoal eye, alternating between the utilitarian ease and sexual charge of the brand’s archive. Do kept the latter veiled, or rather, worked it into his sharp tailoring, as the bondage elements that always wove their way into Lang’s designs were much subdued and abstracted compared to his debut. He was faced with a nearly impossible task: How does one go about modernizing the work of a consummate modernist, whose influence still looms large today? Do’s approach was one of reverence.

There were key silhouettes, like a three-piece mustard tracksuit, with a deep-hooded parka, and shearling aviators boasting face-framing collars that were updates on armor-like designs from 1999. Then there were flourishes, like the laundry-bag plaid from 2003 and a perforated textile from the archive that Do applied to his signature pantsuits. Do said he wanted to convey protection and projection, and how the two qualities are interconnected. That, too, was close to the founder’s sensibility, the idea that clothings can simultaneously inspire and convey strength. The casting also reflected Do’s understanding of the brand’s history, with Owen and Kim Peers, who walked Lang’s shows in the late ’90s and early aughts. Among them were the French-American artist Anh Duong and Hong Kong-born Parisian model Suzi de Givenchy, muses in several of Do’s projects. They modeled the type of diversity that feels important to Lang’s heritage and all the more relevant today.

Before the show, Document peeks backstage to capture Do’s latest collection for Helmut Lang Fall/Winter 2024.