1997 Mesh Strap Top with Asymmetric Lace Application
Size S: Best for any size between a Women's UK 10/US 6 and a UK 6/US 2.
Helmut Lang nylon tank top with lace detail from S/S 1997. In excellent used condition. Made in Italy.
10 years after Lang's first runway, S/S 1997 marks the large scale introduction of the designer's iconic 'Helmut Lang Jeans' label, in parnership with Italian manufacturers GTR Group (Gruppo Tessile Riunito) . The range offered a combination of 'best-of' staples from earlier collections as well as seasonal designs, realised in everyday materials such as denim, canvas and nylon. The line soon became an essential aspect of the Helmut Lang brand and acted as the driving force behind Lang's financial success in the late 1990s. Yet, when the line was first introduced it seemed like an unexpected move to many. Constance C. R. White wrote in 1996:
'Helmut Lang, a designer who has helped redefine modern fashion in the last five years in language as spare and sober as his persona, has been a cultlike creator of eye-crossingly intellectual clothes. This could change with the introduction of a casual collection of jeans, khakis, leathers and accessories for men and women called Helmut Lang Jeans.'
A beautiful example of the Jeans line's transgressive approach, this distinctive top is an amalgamation of designs seen on the S/S 1994 and S/S 1996 collections (pictured). Its simple athletic shape has a tailored bust section featuring triangular-shaped cups and thin shoulder straps. Most interestingly, a synthetic lace strip traverses asymmetrically along the bust area, starting from the top of the left cup and then twisting to reach the bottom of the right cup. This inexpensive lace material was one of Lang's favourite trims in the mid-1990s.
The top is crafted from a fine nylon mesh fabric typically seen on basketball tops. The fabric is smooth to touch, lightweight but structured and features round perforations that give it a translucent quality. Its colour is deep black and its surface becomes lustrous when directly reflecting light. Conversely, the lace application has a pale nude hue. The construction is very precise, as seen in the round base of the cups, featuring subtle darts that give them a three-dimensional shape. Likewise, the upper outline of the torso is internally reinforced with tonal sateen binding to enhance its structure.
Although this is piece was designed with everyday wear in mind, its unconventional details and level of craftsmanship set it apart from typical basics. Its distinctive aesthetic is characteristic of Lang's mid-90s output, and will make it the focal point of any casual outfit.