Thosewho have long hoped for Helmut Lang's return to fashion design will have tosettle for something slightly different. Rather than creating impeccably tailored clothes, as Langis famous for, the retired designer has been busy at work creating sculptures destroying 6,000 pieces of his clothing archive to do so. The sculptures, made from shredded objects and garments that he created over his nearly 30 years as a fashion designer, will be shown in the exhibition "Make It Hard," presented by Neville Wakefield from July 22 to August 8 at the Fireplace Project in East Hampton, New York.
After Pradaacquired Lang's eponymous label in 2004, he retired from the business alltogether, leaving his devotees hungry for the severe, minimalist wears that earnedhim his reputation. Lang sold his name after allegeddisputes with Prada which first purchased 51 percent of the brand in 1999 over the direction of his clothing line. However, Lang maintains there were no conflicts.
Perhapsfrustrated with the industry all together, Lang stopped making clothes andturned to art, presenting his first solo exhibition in the Kestnergesellschaftin Hanover, Germany in 2008.
For "Make ItHard," Lang destroyed the plastic, metal, leather, fur, and fabrics thatrepresented years of hard work in fashion, creating floor-to-ceiling forms thatresemble forces of nature: stalactites that have formed over the course ofhundreds of years, and the catastrophic powers of tornadoes.
Themove could be interpreted as Lang giving a big middle finger to the fashionindustry — which in a sense stole his very name and identity — as hetransitions to a more organic creative process, free from the corporate reignsthat once restrained him. As Wakefieldsaid in a statement about the exhibition, the shredded clothes represent an"erasing the past and the difference they once stood for."