Peter Do has taken the top job at Helmut Lang, the brand announced.
“No one embodied radical thinking more definitely than Helmut Lang,” Do said in a statement, “it is my deep honor to be entrusted with ushering in the next chapter of [his] legacy,” he added.
Do will oversee both men’s and women’s collections starting this coming Monday, May 15, and will report directly to Helmut Lang CEO Dinesh Tandon. “We are thrilled to have Peter Do join Helmut Lang as Creative Director,” Tandon shared, “his clear and innovative approach to design very much aligns with the brand’s ethos and heritage.” Do will continue to helm his own brand.
The Helmut Lang company was founded in 1986 by the Austrian autodidact designer, and has passed through many hands since Lang himself left in 2005 to work as an artist. It was first revived in 2007 when it was acquired by Link Theory Holdings, now a subsidiary of Fast Retailing, from the Prada Group, who hired Michael and Nicole Colovos to lead a creative overhaul. The Colovos’ took the label in a contemporary direction away from the edgier and more artistic point of view of its founder. After the duo left in 2014, the label was managed by an anonymous in-house design team until Isabella Burley, the then editor-in-chief of Dazed, was hired as an “editor-in-residence.” She tapped Shayne Oliver in 2017 to design its spring 2018 collection. After that one-season experiment, the lesser-known Mark Thomas and Thomas Cawson took over briefly in 2019, departing after the spring 2020 season. Since then, the label has been led by an in-house design team. Do’s hiring marks Helmut Lang’s most high profile appointment since Oliver’s stint. Helmut Lang is currently owned by Fast Retailing Co.
Born in Biên Hòa, Vietnam, Do studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and was the recipient of the inaugural 2014 LVMH Graduate Prize. He cut his teeth in the ready-to-wear atelier at Phoebe Philo’s Céline before returning to New York to work with Derek Lam. He launched his eponymous label in New York in 2018, and quickly earned an insider following for his severe, sharp tailoring and downtown-cool appeal. He has been nominated for three CFDA Awards and was a finalist of the 2020 LVMH Prize. Do staged his first runway in New York for the spring 2022 season, following up with two successively bigger shows, but he sat out the fall 2023 season, prompting chatter about the status of his label. Finally, late last month, he presented a lookbook of core pieces which he described as a “good reset.”
Helmut Lang built a highly-influential cult label that set the fashion agenda of his time. One of his key successes was Helmut Lang Jeans, which reignited the designer denim market. In its current iteration, the brand isn’t really part of the conversation, but the pervasive interest in archival fashion and designers of the ’90s and aughts has put a new spotlight on the label—Timothée Chalamet wore an archival leather utility vest from Lang’s spring 1998 collection at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last month.
Do has enjoyed his own fair share of media attention lately, particularly in the menswear space, dressing the likes of Moses Sumney, Jeremy O. Harris, and K-Pop star Jeno from NCT, who opened his spring 2023 runway. Like Lang, he has a knack for deconstruction and a preference for androgynous design. In fact, he’s named Lang as an influence alongside another influential, now retired designer, Martin Margiela. Do’s tendency to focus his tailoring on the body, often playing with cutouts and transparency with his signature spacer mesh fabric, makes his distinct sensibility a natural fit for the label.
But where Do and Lang seem most aligned is in their rejection of the way the fashion industry is centered on the designer as a celebrity. Do is known for disguising his face in photos, and Lang famously broke away from the runway spectacle of the ’90s to prioritize more intimate presentations before retiring from fashion completely in 2005. “There’s so much noise in the industry,” Do told Vogue Runway earlier this year. “It feels like everyone’s trying to scream the loudest with nothing really important or of substance to say.”
His first collection for Helmut Lang will be spring 2024 and will be presented during New York Fashion Week in September. Now we just have to wait to see what he has to say.
This article was originally published on Vogue.
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