The first documentary about the former fashion designer Helmut Lang describes the most important stages of his career and shows how he has influenced and changed contemporary history through his fashion.
Helmut Lang was one of the most influential fashion designers of the ‘90s. Like his colleague Jil Sander, he not only shaped the minimalist esthetic and androgynous look of the era but pushed a change in gender roles.
“Basic sophistication!” That’s how Helmut Lang himself describes his fashion still the favorite attire of artists and intellectuals around the world. He achieved a rare fusion of material luxury with an underground sensibility and introduced the art of stripped-down beauty into the fashion world.
Born in Austria to working-class parents, the autodidact made the brand that carried his name world famous. In his early twenties, he worked as a relief waiter at the trendy restaurant “Motto” in Vienna, where he developed his interest in fashion. Early on, his friendship with artists like Martin Kippenberger and the Viennese painter Kurt Kocherscheidt influenced Lang’s worldview.
Already with twenty-three he opened his first boutique, Bou Bou Lang, in Vienna. His fashion shows in Paris and New York soon became legendary. But at the peak of his success he left the fashion business behind: in 2004 he sold his company to Prada and moved to Long Island, devoting himself exclusively to art.
After exiting the fashion world, Lang returned to the public sphere as an artist and exhibition curator. Even before selling his brand, he had exhibited his work with Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer at the Kunsthalle in Vienna in 1998.
Over the years his art has been shown in galleries and museums all around the world. And while he may not have achieved the same fame for his art as for his fashion, he has fulfilled an old dream.