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1997 Structured Calf Leather Simple Jacket

Helmut Lang

1997 Structured Calf Leather Simple Jacket


IT 40: Best for a Women's UK 6/US 4 or a UK 8/US 6.

Helmut Lang leather buttoned jacket from A/W 1997-1998. In good used condition with minor signs of wear. Made in Italy.

A/W 1997 marked a turning point for Helmut Lang. Up to that point, his collections were largely inspired by clubwear and made their mark through unconventional fabrics and subversive details. This time, the designer opted for a more controlled presentation that highlighted the mass appeal of his designs. Through the use of subdued colours, streamlined finishes and effortless shapes Lang showed that he was capable of creating timeless classics that could be worn for years to come. The experimentation that characterises his work was still there, however Lang's typical gestures had become more simple, refined and universal. Amy M. Spindler writes:

'Helmut Lang's instincts have defined the 1990's, so all the designers who have been copying him for so long should take a close look at the way he staged his show this season. Instead of a flashy presentation, there was a modest workroom created in an uncrowded gallery. [...] Mr. Lang presented a quiet storm, taking ideas from past seasons and infusing them with elegance and sophistication: the banded coat, the sash, the cummerbund, the froth of tulle starkly cut, elastic bands gripping dresses like escaped pieces of lingerie. [...] [Ann Demeulemeester and] Mr. Lang will someday jointly be considered the archetypes of this decade.' 

This streamlined design captures the collection's minimalist spirit which can be seen throughout Lang's output (pictured: S/S 1995 and S/S 1997). Featuring proportions similar to those of denim jackets, the classic piece has a slim straight cut and features a button closure that leads up to a chunky point collar. The chest features two rectangular patch pockets, while pale yellow buttons add simple detail. The piece is crafted from luxuriously thick calfskin leather with a matte finish and barely perceptible grains (which are indicative of its high quality). The leather has a smooth hand and a strong, sculptural drape that complements the jacket's form-fitting silhouette, with flattering narrow shoulders and slim sleeves.

Thoughtful details complete the luxurious piece. First of all, the precise construction of the jacket's panels complements its sharp lines, while creating subtle geometric plays. This is evident on the back, where a simple vertical seam can be seen on all panels from the collar's underside to the waistband. All buttons are backed by smaller mother of pearl buttons on the interior, ensuring that they never come off while maintaining the structure of the precious leather. The interior is fully lined in beige sateen.

This jacket is a versatile and accessible example of Lang's revered and highly influential minimalist aesthetic. Its modern detailing and sharp cut make it a true wardrobe staple that will worn for years only to improve with age.

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