Words Alexis Lopez Angeles
Helmut Lang’s influence on the contemporary fashion scene is undeniable, from Raf Simons telling Alexander Fury he would happily only wear Lang’s work, to Shayne Oliver reimagining his work for Hood By Air and later having a short but outstanding tenure at Helmut Lang. Often when talking about Lang’s work it is in relation to minimalism, but rarely in how he translated contemporary sensuality and sexuality to fashion.
The word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, which is the personification of love in all its aspects—born of Chaos, embodying creative power and harmony. However, as the great feminist activist, Audre Lorde describes in her work The Uses of the Erotic, “ We have been taught to suspect [the erotic]. To vilify, abuse, and devalue it within Western society.” Lorde is describing how the erotic has been misnamed as pornographic by men and utilised against women and the queer community. In Lang’s work, the notion of eroticism is introduced in many ways from subtleties like trims of lace around the armhole of a basketball tank top, which could be telling the story of a friendly basketball game that ended in between the sheets, to more obvious references in minimal jersey tops that mimic the structure of vintage fetishwear.