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1998 Vintage Sanded Broken Denim Painter Jeans (Medium/Light Wash)

Helmut Lang

1998 Vintage Sanded Broken Denim Painter Jeans (Medium/Light Wash)


Size 31: Best for a 32" or 31" waist.

Helmut Lang medium blue painter jeans from S/S 1998. In excellent used condition; parts of the back have been professionally reinforced to prevent wear. Made in Italy.

'It’s about America. It’s not about couture', Helmut Lang famously stated after rejecting Balenciaga's proposal to work as the maison's head designer. Lang had 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.'

Lang's iconic 'Painter Jean' was introduced for S/S 1997 and is certainly one of his most celebrated denim creations. Besides dominating the S/S 1998 runway (pictured), the jeans were also worn by actress Nicolette Krebitz on the cover of New Order's 2001 album 'Get Ready', art directed by Peter Saville. Like all Helmut Lang jeans, the detailing is inspired by Levi's 1947 501XX model, featuring a traditional five-pocket design reinforced with metal rivets. The fabric is medium-weight denim that has been washed, sanded, distressed and painted to give it a vintage appearance that emulates years of wear. Light wear throughout has softened the fabric while further adding to its beauty. 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.

The Like all Helmut Lang jeans, the finishing 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 off-white, black and grey paint. Interestingly, the logo-engraved hardware has a matte silver finish (fly buttons) and copper (rivets), a very rare detail that can be mainly seen in Helmut Lang jeans before 1997. 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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