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2003 Egyptian Cotton T-Shirt with Detached Hem

Helmut Lang

2003 Egyptian Cotton T-Shirt with Detached Hem


Size S: Best for an IT 48 - 38 Chest - S/M or an IT 46 - 36 Chest - S. Can also be worn oversize by women sized between UK 14/US 10 and UK 10/US 6.

Helmut Lang white deconstructed T-shirt with cut-off back from S/S 2003. In excellent used condition with minor hole on the back of the right arm. 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. 

A classic example of the DIY-inspired approach that defined the collection, this rare long-sleeve top combines precise craftsmanship with a deconstructed, carefully dishevelled aesthetic. The back hem features a precise slit that leaves a thin strip of material to hang in separation from the body. This detached look is Lang's fetishised interpretation of prolonged natural wear: As fabric softens with use, the reinforced coverstitch line that secures the edges of a T-shirt can often split slightly after heavy use. Here, however, Lang has chosen to make this element a deliberate and central aspect of the top's design. Interestingly, this concept was explored from a different angle years before this piece in Lang's S/S 1997 collection.

Upon a closer inspection we can observe that this piece has a spectacular construction showcasing tremendous attention to detail. The body has exaggerated side seams that spiral towards the right, adding a subtle point of interest while enhancing the top's drape when it is worn. This construction has also been one of Lang's hallmarks since the early 1990s. Furthermore, herringbone cotton tape has been used to reinforce the detached section of the hem. In addition to protecting the slit strip from further wear, the tape gives it weight that allows for it to hang beautifully on the body. The piece is crafted from a high quality Egyptian cotton jersey with a smooth texture and a slightly brushed finish. The crew neckline is finished with ribbed trim.

Striking in its boldness and simplicity, this truly iconic piece is an exceptional find from one of Lang's best collections. Its unconventional and well-thought-out detailing will make an interesting and sophisticated statement in a variety of outfits.

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