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1999 Compact Cotton Jeans with Printed Stripes

Helmut Lang

1999 Compact Cotton Jeans with Printed Stripes


Size 29: Best for a 29" or 30" waist.

Helmut Lang striped jeans from S/S 1999. In very good used condition with fading throughout; missing one fly button (not visible when worn). Made in Italy.

'It’s not trashy and loud. That’s not our thing. But it’s often very ornate – just not old ornate.'
-Helmut Lang

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.'

First seen on the S/S 1996 runway, these iconic trousers are one of the most distinctive designs from Lang's '96 collections. Instead of denim, the designer has used a densely woven cotton with a slightly structured finish similar to the fabrics used on military outerwear. The material's vintage appearance and colour variations are beautifully juxtaposed with the bold off-white stripes that have been applied throughout its surface, resulting in a striking and unconventional look. The construction is inspired by Levi's 1947 501XX model, featuring a traditional five-pocket design reinforced with metal rivets. 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 finishing of the trousers is precise and well thought-out. The fabric's stripes have been generally matched for a more seamless look, however the designer has deliberately mismatched the front and back sides of each leg to disrupt the pattern on the side seams. 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.

To conclude, these jeans are a signature Helmut Lang design that exemplifies how a garment can be strikingly graphic and refined at the same time, while remaining faithful to the designer's purist vision. Their unique features clearly set them far apart from ordinary trousers, thereby making them an excellent showpiece.

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