NEW YORK — It’s all systems go for the return of the Helmut Lang label this spring, after its new owners and design directors tested the waters with two capsule collections. The 85-piece men’s sportswear collection, which consists mainly of lightweight wovens in a serene palette of neutrals, olive and sapphire, will be ready for viewing this week in a new Chelsea showroom.
Designers Michael and Nicole Colovos have taken care to put their own spin on the brand, which Link Theory Holdings bought from Prada last year. (Founder Helmut Lang has been keeping a low profile since walking away from his disputes with Prada management.)
The Colovoses, who founded the acclaimed denim brand Habitual in 2002, stay away from the Helmut Lang archives, they say. But their spring collection preserves the label’s historic themes of asymmetry, androgyny and architecture.
“We talk about everything having two lives,” says Nicole Colovos, a former fashion editor born in New Zealand, explaining why so many pieces in the collection feature convertibility of some kind. Tidy necklines unbutton or unzip to expand into cowls, “so you can add volume or take it away, and it becomes your own.” Trouser pockets detach from the side seams to become slouchy. A smooth gray leather jacket reverses to the pebbled side of the skin.
Inspiration comes from materials, which the designers like to treat so that technical fabrics look more natural, and natural fabrics more techno, says Michael Colovos. Perhaps he and his wife are so sensitive to duality because in addition to being a bicoastal design duo, they have a two-year-old son.
The relaunched brand has been carried by Barneys, Scoop, Selfridges and Lane Crawford, among others. For spring, distribution is expanding with domestic and international department and specialty stores. In addition, a Helmut Lang store will open in Los Angeles at the end of the month. A San Francisco location is next in the pipeline, and New York is likely behind it.
Average retail prices are $275 for shirts, $670 for blazers and $360 for trousers. Denim ranges from $240 to $280.