1997 Evening Trousers with Silk Waistband
IT 48: Best for a 31" or 32" waist.
Helmut Lang trousers from S/S 1997. In excellent used condition with replacement button. Made in Italy. RRP: $545 (£355) (part of a two-piece suit - find the jacket here)
Helmut Lang's S/S 1997 collection was a tremendous success that further solidified his status as the quiet avant-garde spirit of his generation. Focusing on the refinement of his personal vision rather than seasonal novelty, Lang showed his characteristic mix of clubwear-inspired separates, sharp suiting and sophisticated eveningwear. Subtle decorative applications brought forth an element of unforeseen abstraction: Solid rubber stripes and satin sashes in bold colours evoked graphic modernity; deconstructed elements and abbreviated shapes were wrapped around the models' bodies, confusing and enticing the viewer; nylon trims gave a sport-inspired urgency to sober fitted lines. Lang's characteristic jersey dresses were restricted by straps, while silk trims in unexpected places redefined conventional luxury. This rare pair of trousers encapsulates Lang's timeless and sophisticated approach, which seems to be more aesthetically relevant than ever.
The trousers' cut is surprisingly modern for 1997; elongated and flattering with a narrow straight leg. The design is quintessential Helmut Lang, merging a traditional tailor made construction with a sophisticated detail-oriented aesthetic. The front has a flat construction devoid of pleats and vertical slit pockets for a streamlined look, while sharp creases add definition to the clean lines. The back has two buttoned welt pockets. Most interestingly, the waistband is constructed entirely from dense silk satin that gives the trousers a subtly avant-garde appearance that is synonymous with Lang's designs from this period. This refined detail has since then been appropriated by numerous designers, including Lucas Ossendrijver for Lanvin and Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy.
Upon a closer inspection, it is evident that the trousers' interior is just as beautiful as the exterior. The interior waistband is partially attached by hand, canvassed to prevent stretching and lined with Lang's signature rows of contrasting fabrics with a branded embroidery. Likewise, the seat is partially lined with black cotton on the fly, pockets and crotch. The fly closes with five buttons and two hook-and-eye closures; this ensures that tension is distributed evenly without distressing the precious silk material.
This is a classic Helmut Lang piece with a timeless cut, a subversively luxurious design and beautiful attention to detail. Helmut Lang's idiosyncratic approach to men's tailoring was conducive in transforming classic forms into sophisticated and refined runway pieces. Helmut Lang clothes are just as relevant today as they were when they first showcased, and these trousers look and feel better than similar garments designed nowadays.