1996 Coated Fine Polyester Tailored Shirt
Size IT 38: Best for a Womens' UK 8/US 4 or a UK 6/US 2.
Helmut Lang shiny polyester shirt from A/W 1996-1997. In excellent used condition with minor signs of wear. Made in Italy.
Bringing together what seemed like disparate universes at the time, A/W 1996 was the first collection that combined Lang's modern visual language with elements appropriated from military and workwear garments. Following the aesthetic cue of the past few collections, Lang showed simple silhouettes in a palette of military green, black, brown and navy. Quilted nylons, moleskin cotton and canvas gave a utilitarian character to the tailored menswear, while beautifully sequinned dresses and fine floral knits with slashes created an unconventional elegance on the womenswear. Furthermore, a series of outerwear garments featuring Lang's iconic rubber stripe applications have since then become immortalised as one of the most iconic moments of 1990s fashion.
A Helmut Lang classic, this shirt epitomises the designer's idiosyncratic approach to women's tailoring. Lang has borrowed elements from his classic men's shirts and combined them with his unconventional touch to create a minimalist staple that looks timelessly modern despite its traditional origins. (Pictured: similar pieces for men from A/W 94 and A/W 96.) The piece is crafted from a finely woven polyester that has been resin-coated. The material is soft, smooth and the coating produces a pronounced liquid shine that pleasantly complements the material's deep black colour. The silhouette is effortless and flattering, with narrow shoulders a tailored torso that follows the lines of the body.
Like all Helmut Lang shirts, the finishing of this piece is thoughtful and luxurious. The front buttons are arranged more closely than usual (consisting of 8 buttons rather than the usual 7), producing a subtly aggressive look. The buttons are crafted from gunmetal-tone mother-of-pearl and the closure leads up to a masculine point collar with a strong yet refined shape. The sides of the waist are finished with gussets that have been slightly oversized, adding a playful element to the precise silhouette. The sleeves have a sharp two-piece construction, enhancing the shirt's structured look. The chunky barrel cuffs are adjustable and finished with a single pleat. Likewise, the back features darts to give it a more contoured silhouette. The interior seams have French finishing that prevents them from undesirable fraying, thereby ensuring the longevity of the shirt.
Combining Lang's timeless sartorialism with cutting-edge sportswear, this shirt demonstrates the transgressive refinement that made Helmut Lang's approach a paradigm-shifting force in the 1990s. Worn under a suit or as a light jacket, it will definitely become a year-long favourite.