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1998 Ribbed Jersey 'U.S. Lang' Tank Top

Helmut Lang

1998 Ribbed Jersey 'U.S. Lang' Tank Top


Size L: Best for any size between an IT 50 - 40 Chest - M and an IT 46 - 36 Chest - S. Can also be worn by women sized between UK 12 - US 08 and UK 14 - US 12.

Helmut Lang 'U.S. Lang' tank top from S/S 1998. In excellent used condition. Made in Italy.

"When you arrive here, it's like…,” he searches for the right words, "being in love. When you're not in love, you're fine, but when you are, you discover you have all this new energy, an additional capacity you never knew you had, a new dimension in yourself. Moving here just felt completely necessary, and right. I love Vienna and Austria, but when I was growing up, everything great came from the U.S., everything modern‑jeans, music, movies, the casualness. That's what I've been working with in everything I'm doing. For the first time, I feel I'm not living a secondhand life."

- Helmut Lang, Harper's Bazaar September 1998

For S/S 1998 Helmut Lang staged a separate men's presentation in New York, while the womenswear remained in Paris. Being Lang's first New York runway show, it was a particularly exciting moment for the brand (Lang would move permanently to NY a few months later) and he created this rare piece to commemorate the brand's arrival to America.

The collection was a great success that highlighted many of the elements that became synonymous with Lang's 90s menswear. His aesthetic was embraced by creatives who appreciated sophisticated design yet had little interest in the whims of high fashion, and this show epitomised his transgressive appeal: Sportswear crafted from innovative technical fabrics was paired with crisp white shirts, minimalist suiting and Lang's classic jeans in beautiful vintage finishes. The overall atmosphere was tightly controlled and minimalist, yet the clothes maintained an effortless and utterly cool attitude which gave gravitas to even the simplest of outfits. In my view, never before had Lang's menswear collections reached this kind of sophistication.

In the Austrian designer's typical fashion, the message of this top is bold yet ambiguous. The printed design's phrasing and star symbol have a militaristic undertone, while its modernist curvilinear decoration could be interpreted as an abstracted silhouette of a bird or as an allusion to classic sportswear logos. Ultimately, the statement is clear: Helmut Lang is now an American enterprise. The vest's back is finished with a 'Helmut Lang Jeans' print. The fabric is crisp cotton in a finely ribbed knit that stretches gently for a snug fit that follows the lines of the body. The neckline and armholes are finished with self-fabric binding. 

A rare and iconic piece from one of Lang's strongest menswear collections, this top combines eye-catching visuals with an interesting narrative that is now part of contemporary fashion history. We love it and strongly recommend it.

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