1996 Classic Shirt with Contrasting Collar Detail
IT 50 - 40 chest - M: Can also fit a slim IT 52 - 42 chest - L.
Helmut Lang tailored shirt from S/S 1996. In excellent used condition with minor fading, with attached replacement button. Made in Italy.
The mid-1990s were a seminal phase of Helmut Lang's work. It was during this period that the novelty-hungry press described Lang's work as 'minimalist'. Lang's designs were visually resolute, refined and uncluttered. They represented a new approach to dressing, where luxury was achieved through effortless sophistication and an emphasis on luxurious fabrics and elegant cuts rather than gratuitous ornamentation and oversized logos. This extremely rare shirt was designed almost twenty years ago, but its refined aesthetic and well-proportioned cut make it just as relevant as when it was first showcased.
Like most Helmut Lang shirts, the design is workwear-inspired: a patch pocket is found on the chest, the sleeves have adjustable barrel cuffs and the back features sharp side pleats. The fabric is a medium-weight cotton with a pleasantly smooth hand and a matte surface. The cut is surprisingly ahead of its time with a fitted body, high armholes and a tapered waist. Most interestingly, the upper portion of the point collar is decorated with a contrasting insert that gives the shirt a subtly avant-garde point of interest that is synonymous with Lang's sophisticated approach. Introduced in 1996, this signature detail can be seen in various Helmut Lang designs that followed such as the 1997 evening jacket. The editorial is from the A/W 1996-1997 season.
Upon a closer inspection, we can see that the shirt is finished to a high standard. The sleeves have Lang's classic two-piece construction, which enhances the shirt's structured look. The contrasting panel on the collar is precisely sewn on without distorting its shape, while the chest pocket's edges are reinforced with triangular stitching. The cuffs have a curvilinear shape with two pleats and invisible cuff openings. All buttons are realised in genuine mother of pearl in a gunmetal tone. On the interior, all seams have flat fell finishing that prevents them from undesirable fraying.
The shirt's modern cut and sophisticated details make for a versatile piece that sits somewhere between classic and avant-garde. The fact that it was designed almost two decades ago and still looks better than similar garments designed nowadays is a deft testament to Lang's avant-garde vision.