Stand Clear of the Closing Doors at Helmut Lang SS24
Do didn’t step away from the aesthetic of the power suit — but instead chose to add more edge to it.
“New York is your runway” may be a time-honored cliché, but it’s easy to forget when trying to move deep into a crowded train. First: the “STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOOR” recording. Second: the unmistakable ding dong. Peter Do’s debut runway show for Helmut Lang tried to remind us that we are, in fact, in one of the most glamorous cities in the world.
This was one of the most (if not the most) anticipated shows of the season. Under the oppressive Manhattan humidity, expectation built like the chaos of the city with every minute of anticipation before the show began — a good half hour late.
The runway, with phrases from poet Ocean Vuong’s 2022 collection Time is a Mother printed in white lines — simulating crosswalks, evoking Jenny Holzer — implies to me that this collection is for those who are on the go. Whether on a taxi, or a car that was their first room, or the subway, these clothes are made for those who will proudly take up space. With subtler tailoring disrupted by satin lines of bright fuschia or NYC-taxi yellow, Do didn’t step away from the aesthetic of the power suit — but instead chose to add more edge to it. A palette of somber colors is interrupted by bright shades you can’t look away from, calling attention to itself like the loud banging of the elevated trains that run in the less glamorous parts of New York.
With proportion play and a colorful pantleg here and bright sleeve there, the models look like they just stepped out of the car, which as Ocean Vuong put it in the introductory text for the collection, was a place “...to fuck, or cry, or talk to each other without whispering.” One step further: “In the hands of queer folk, the car is (...) a place to both hide from the world and be more than what we were allowed to be inside it.”
Dress shirts buttoned up the back with Vietnamese words printed on them; lines cutting the body diagonally like seatbelts, or perhaps, tiretracks; this is a collection that plays with the rules, rather than playing by them. Not quite poetry, but certainly artful pop lyrics, something urbane. 🌀
You can view the entire collection here.