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1997 White Vintage Stained Denim Painter Jeans

Helmut Lang

1997 White Vintage Stained Denim Painter Jeans


Size 29: Best for a 29" or 30" waist.

Helmut Lang white painter jeans from S/S 1997. In excellent used condition. Made in Italy.

'On the stage of a packed auditorium, a jaded but suave Englishman in black sweater and white Helmut Lang jeans is holding forth, sighing deeply and dragging on a fag between each slide. Images of iconic record covers and fashion campaigns fill the huge screen. The audience hangs on every word as the speaker provides more than an hour's entertainment with designer tales from the past 20 years. [...]

A few weeks after his appearance in Barcelona, I met Saville in the kitchen of a suburban house in west London that has been carved into a luscious rococo loft. It belongs to a highly successful former model and her fashion designer husband who live most of the time in France; when they come back, Saville has to move out. Then, his four identical pairs of white jeans (Helmut Lang), blue jeans (APC), black sweaters (TSE) and T-shirts are packed away and taken to a friend's flat in Ladbroke Grove.'

- 'For the Look of It', feature on Peter Saville by Caroline Roux for The Guardian, 2003

During his fashion career Lang maintained an enduring fascination with American workwear and particularly its most iconic identifier, denim. And of course, few garments are more representative of denim than the classic 5-pocket jeans. Their archetypal design was a strong source of inspiration for the designer, who transformed classic denim staples to sophisticated high fashion pieces. In turn, his jeans were not only praised for their sophisticated fabrications but also for their distinctive and precisely-fitting silhouette. Renown NY fashion buyer Gene Pressman stated in 2006:

'Lang has mastered the old-fashioned fit of just being tight and narrow. The [fabrics] are worn in the way I like them. [...] And if Helmut Lang goes out of business? Look for vintage Helmut Lang jeans.'

Part of the S/S 1997 collection (the first season of the 'Helmut Lang Jeans' label), this piece is the original version of Lang's classic jeans. The detailing is undoubtedly inspired by Levi's 1947 501XX model, featuring a traditional five-pocket design reinforced with metal rivets. At the same time, Lang's decidedly clean lines as well as the absence of superficial decoration make his jeans timelessly modern despite their century-old origins. The fabric is thick denim that has been washed, stained, distressed and then painted to give it a vintage finish (Lang named it 'vintage stained denim' in later years). While its appearance emulates years of wear, the fabric maintains a substantial feel comparable to raw denim. The jeans have Lang's typical 'classic' cut which consists of a medium rise, fitted seat, fitted thigh and a narrow straight leg. The reward of this carefully considered pattern is a flattering shape that looks simultaneously effortless and sharp.

Like all Helmut Lang jeans, the construction is of a very high standard with considerable attention to detail. The coloured splashes found throughout the piece (the hallmark of the 'painter' model) are done by hand using black and white paint, while rust stains and sanding achieve a more authentic effect. The hardware has a matte silver finish and is engraved with the Helmut Lang logo, while the interior is flawlessly finished with mainly flat fell seams that ensure the jeans will be worn for years without fraying.

Overall, these hard-to-find jeans capture the sophistication and subtlety that became synonymous with Helmut Lang's iconic Jeans range. Classic and simultaneously modern, they are a wardrobe staple that will only improve with age.

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