Andrew Rosen has a slow but deliberate growth strategy for Helmut Lang men’s wear.
The label, which was acquired by Link Theory Holdings, a subsidiary of Fast Retailing of Japan, in 2006, has had women’s wear since 2007. It took until this spring for the line to reenter the men’s market, when it is making its debut at Barneys New York in the U.S. and several well-known retailers in Europe and Asia, including Selfridges, Harrods and Lane Crawford. The distribution is being widened for fall with the label targeting stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and others.
Lang’s ace in the hole is the tapping of Alexandre Plokhov, a CFDA award-winning designer who cofounded the defunct cult New York men’s label Cloak before designing for Versace’s men’s line and his own eponymous collection, to reimagine the men’s collection.
“I’ve known Alexandre since 2005,” said Rosen, chief executive officer of Helmut Lang. “He loves what he does, and his attention to detail and craftsmanship is amazing.”
Rosen said starting slow was intentional. “When I start something new, I like to start small and not get overwhelmed. I like to perfect everything and get the kinks out.” He said he is pleased with the results of the spring collection and as a result will go “bigger for fall. Hopefully, this is the beginning of an important men’s wear company,” he added. “I think we’ve showed 65 or 70 stores and we’ve gotten an incredible reaction.” Rosen expects to hit about $2.5 million in sales for the fall season.
“I always believe it’s good to have new companies come out with innovative product,” Rosen continued, calling the men’s offering “street luxe. We started more casual, but as we go on, it will continue to get more sophisticated.”
Rosen said Helmut Lang women’s wear has developed “a great following” over the past few years, “and I thought it was appropriate to start men’s. It has a very fresh voice to it.”
Plokhov said that when he signed on to design the collection, he referred back to “my memory of Helmut Lang,” taking elements from the Austrian designer’s collections and “updating them to put my take on them.” He focused much of his attention on outerwear, creating pieces such as enzyme-washed poplins with removable shearling collars, Spanish sheepskin shearlings with metal toggles, coated melton peacoats with extra-large ottoman ribbing, ballistic nylon jackets and pearlized nylon bombers with mesh insets. Pants include biker trousers in heavy-gauge leather, coated denim and Japanese bonded fleece models. There are a variety of T-shirts, some of which employ perforated mesh for an athletic sensibility.
“It has a bit of a street edge, and there’s a surplus aesthetic to the collection,” Plokhov said, pointing to the quilted sweatshirts and cut-edge knitwear in the fall offering.
The designer said that as the line evolves, denim and tailored clothing will become more important, with both categories being beefed up for holiday and spring. “I wanted to concentrate on the staples to build the foundation,” he said.
Price points are firmly in the advanced contemporary spectrum — the line at Barneys hangs with Alexander Wang, Public School and Y-3. Price points include pants for $290 to $400; blazers and jackets for $595 to $795; leather outerwear for $1,325; parkas for $1,295, and a shearling coat at more than $2,000.
“I like having a design aesthetic and integrity, but being more approachable and accessible in price,” Rosen said. “I don’t like making precious clothes, but clothes people can live in and love.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)