All eyes were on Peter Do this September. Like, literally. Do’s collection for Helmut Lang is the debut of the New York season, anticipated by all since the moment it was announced this summer.
It was only two NYFWs ago that Peter Do made his runway debut with his eponymous brand, and he’s been dubbed many things since then—a prodigy, for one—but beyond that, he’s synonymous with contemporary minimalism, sleek tailoring, and high-concept ready-to-wear. A modern classic.
The moment Do was announced to helm the classic Helmut Lang, it felt like the stars had aligned. After all, Helmut Lang was a huge contributor to making everyday wear fashion. A designer’s designer, Helmut Lang’s work epitomizes ‘90s minimalism. Lang had luxury streetwear in the palm of his hand, he pioneered designer jeans, and—in Peter Do’s words—embodied radical thinking.
The announcement had the industry thinking: Peter Do’s got some big shoes to fill—but that’s not what he’s going for at all.
Instead, the collection is an ode to Helmut Lang. A parallel, if you will. And, okay, we’ve all seen the Instagram reel: a person in office-wear hails a New York City cab. Atop it, an advertisement; two simple words: Helmut Lang. It’s a nod to Helmut Lang’s advertisements atop NYC taxis in 1998; it was the first fashion label to advertise on them. Such references are scattered throughout the show, ranging from colour to text to fabric.
Flashes of fuschia were reminiscent of Helmut Lang’s beloved Fall 2000 collection; the seatbelt-inspired details on coats and the printed suits work in tandem with the taxi advertisements.
The collection, titled Born to Go, tells Do’s story as a creative, using the New York taxi as a metaphor. He also tapped poet and novelist Ocean Vuong (one of my personal favorites) to write for the collection. It’s a nod to Lang himself working with Jenny Holzer during the ‘90s. The SS24 collection featured classic ready-to-wear pieces like t-shirts and tanks with Vuong’s poetry: “This is how I carry us / for in your skin, I’ve placed my trust”, “Touch me so I know I am here / Break me so I know I have changed”, and “My life is a weapon / held to my throat so I could sing.”
But at its core—even with the integration of poetry and the Helmut Lang brand history—Peter Do’s vision for the brand is simple: he wants to dress New York City in Helmut Lang. He’s taking the label in a direction it’s already well acquainted with: commercial wearability, an understated luxury.
“Good design doesn’t alienate you,” Do said, in an interview with W Magazine. “I’m showing you different ways to wear something.”
That’s the tone Do’s taking with his Helmut Lang debut—and we’re eagerly anticipating his next move.