2003 Techno Mesh Sweater with Geometrical Ribcage Detail
IT 50 (with considerable stretch): Best for any size between an IT 46 - 36 Chest - S and a slim IT 50 - 40 Chest - M, or any size between any a Women's UK 12/US 10 and a UK 14/US 12.
Helmut Lang ribbed mesh sweater from S/S 2003. In brand new condition with store tags. Made in Italy.
In our view, S/S 2003 was one of the most sophisticated collections in Helmut Lang's career. Drawing inspiration from a diverse variety of sources ranging from 1990s clubwear, Seditionaries-style layering and technical surfing gear to traditional tailoring, he created a complex yet aesthetically harmonious world where radical deconstruction met luxe 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. Unfortunately many of the collection's directional designs were manufactured in limited numbers, or not produced at all.
This iconic sweater was one of S/S 2003's key looks, showcased in both men's and women's Paris runways. Since then, the original sample shown on the runway has become part of Bath Fashion Museum's permanent collection (pictured: S/S 2003 and a photo from the Turn of the Century including Helmut Lang exhibition). The front is decorated with an abstract ribcage motif that was one of the season's most prominent details. Consisting of a thick vertical stripe intersected by two horizontal stripes, the symbol is reminiscent of the Patriarchal cross, a variant of the Christian cross that commonly appears in Byzantine greek and Eastern European iconography. Lang often often decorated his early streetwear-inspired designs with religious prints, and it is possible to understand this design as a cerebral step forward.
Like Helmut Lang's classic ribbed sweaters, the piece has a sharp skinny cut with a round neckline, narrow shoulders and slim, elongated sleeves. The fabric is a technical knit made from a 68% polyester and 32% lycra yarn with a crisp, rubber-like texture. Its intricate pattern is composed of alternating columns of narrow rib stitches and stretchy chainmail mesh stitches: this results in a unique material that stretches generously to create a striking cobweb-like appearance that subtly reveals the wearer's skin. The ribcage design is seamlessly knit to the front using a dense English stitch. The visually arresting design is finished with no added ribbing on the waistline and cuffs for a clean look.
Combining advanced fabric experimentation with a directional aesthetic, this piece captures the essence of one of Helmut Lang's most celebrated collections. With numerous S/S 2003 garments in the archives of the world's renown fashion museums, the rarity of a piece like this in unused condition cannot be overstated.
The knit sleeve attachment shown on the runway can be purchased here.