2003 Deconstructed Abstract Patchwork T-Shirt with Leg Straps
Size S: Best for any size between an IT 48 - 38 Chest - S/M and an IT 44 - 34 Chest - XS. Can also be worn oversize by women sized between UK 14/US 10 and UK 10/US 6.
Helmut Lang asymmetric T-shirt with extended details from S/S 2003. In good used condition with minor signs of wear. Made in Italy.
In my view, S/S 2003 was one of the most sophisticated moments in Helmut Lang's 21st century output. Drawing inspiration from a diverse variety of sources including 1990s clubwear, Vivianne Westwood's Seditionaries, technical surfing gear and traditional tailoring, Lang devised a complex yet aesthetically harmonious vision where radical deconstruction met uncompromising modernity. Many of the details that defined Lang's clubwear-cum-couture collections from the mid-1990s were present, highlighting his emphasis on long-term refinement rather than seasonal novelty. At the same time, a variety of new forms that came to define this phase of Lang's career were presented to critical acclaim. Lang and his team decided to name the collection 'The Next Wave'. Unfortunately most of the collection's designs were manufactured in very limited numbers, or not produced at all.
This outstanding top was one of the collection's signature pieces. Variations of its design were the focal piece of numerous runway looks and one can be seen in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Its intricate construction consists of multiple curvilinear panels of fabric that form an inverted T-shape (the evolution of a concept seen in the Women's A/W 2002 collection). Irregularly screen-printed applications in navy blue and pieces of black fabric create a captivating abstract composition that undeniably makes this piece a work of visual art rather than a basic T-shirt. The waist is finished with the designer's signature leg straps, extending below the hem to form an unconventional point of interest. This detail was originally used on mid-century military outerwear to secure the coat's bottom to the wearer's legs. Lang first appropriated it for A/W 1997 outerwear, and it has since then become one of his many idiosyncratic touches that blur the lines between utility and decoration.
The piece's inimitable design is matched by its thoughtful construction that bestows it with couture gravitas. The decorated elements have been screen-printed prior to the assembly of the piece, creating clean visual breaks at the seams. The silhouette is semi-fitted with side seams that spiral towards the right to enhance the top's drape when it is worn. The fabric is medium-weight cotton jersey with a soft texture and some stretch that has been washed to achieve a brushed texture with a slightly aged look. The crew neckline is finished with ribbed trim.
To conclude, this exceptional piece captures the essence of Helmut Lang's work at its most sophisticated. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I believe it would look beautiful if it was simply displayed on a wall. With numerous S/S 2003 garments in the archives of the world's renown fashion museums, the rarity of this piece cannot be overstated.