Helmut Lang’s Sculptures Are the Charred Remains of His Fashion Archives

In 2005, Austrian fashion designer Helmut Lang famously left his namesake label to become a full-fledged fine artist. While the minimalist fashion pioneer is sorely missed by the industry, Lang’s doing whatever it takes to shed – and shred – the cult-like status attached to his designs. For his latest exhibit, the artist destroyed 6,000 garments from his fashion archives to create a series of pipe-like sculptures. Though one would assume this is just his dramatic way of cutting ties with his past, Lang is quick to clarify.

“I’m not interested in erasing anything from my past,” he explains to Hint magazine. “My past is part of my DNA.” He goes on to defend that the sculptures symbolically erase “the hierarchy and the temporal meaning of the materials.” Perhaps this is his way of repurposing his work to demonstrate that an object or, in this case, an article of clothing, can have more that one function in life. While we definitely respect Lang’s progressive outlook, the fashion fiend in us weeps for the thousands of covetable garments that could have been.

Lang’s Make it Hard exhibit opens this weekend at Fireplace Project (851 Springs Fireplace Road) in East Hampton.

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