Every season at Fashion Week, there are one or two shows that make even many fashion fans think — ‘OK, now they’re just messing with us.’
This season in New York, it’s Helmut Lang who appears to be doing the messing. In his first collection for the design house, Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver went a bit bra-crazy, dressing both men and women in various versions of the lingerie which were at times barely-there, oddly-constructed, and cartoonishly oversized.




Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Working with Dazed magazine’s editor-in-chief Isabella Burley (who is also an editor-in-residence for Helmut Lang), Oliver showed a raucous audience at the just how flexible the concept of a bra can be. Perhaps his most intriguing concoction was the bra bag, which is worn around the chest but zippable at the top to form an actual functioning satchel with two pockets.
Shaped like a much-too-large bra, models wore it in black and white — some on its own as a top, and others wrapped around the outside of tops and a blazer, the straps slipping down the model’s arms in a way that looked neither supportive (not that that was its intention) nor comfortable. Male models, too, wore the bra bag — though one also, confusingly, carried a clutch in his hand as well. Then there were all the teensy bralettes in black leather: strappy and sexy, sometimes barely covering the intended area and sometimes, totally not trying.

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

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 as one of a planned succession of guest designers creating capsule collections. This collection was called ‘Helmut Lang Seen By Shayne Oliver.’
‘It’s been crazy,’ Burley told reporters backstage of working with Oliver. ‘But I’ve loved every minute of it.’




The runway show Monday night in SoHo included both women and men, and hardly seemed to differentiate by gender in terms of garments. The runway was also not reserved for millennials: Kristen Owen, 46, a longtime Lang model, walked here, among other names from the past.

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

In keeping with Lang’s aesthetic, 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.)

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection

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 and left the brand 12 years ago). 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.