Peter Do stalls at Helmut Lang, Carla Pierini wins at Supima

The gods have been cruel to the house of Helmut Lang, whose history since Helmut departed has been a long downward slide, barely broken by Peter Do’s debut for the house Friday afternoon.

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This should have been a major show. Instead, it was a damp squib, or a stalled departure, seeing as the collection was inspired by the American romance with automobiles. Doubly apparent from the dejected mood of the audience exiting into a lower Manhattan drizzle. 
Do, with his own signature collection, has staged some of the most exciting shows in New York in the past half decade. This display, however, felt like a poor pastiche of Lang’s oeuvre.

Watching this collection, it was hard to believe that there was a time, two decades ago, when Helmut Lang was the most important single collection in fashion. The biggest reason one crossed the Atlantic to see the New York season.
Pre-show, the omens had been promising. Helmut’s habit of using giant graphic texts – most famously from artist Jenny Holzer – was evoked by aphorisms painted one-meter-long typeface that were sprayed on to the catwalk. While a text by hipster Ocean Vuong was contained inside the program notes and then read allowed by the Vietnamese-American writer.
Do was certainly referential, indeed, far too much so. Sending out Helmut’s strict suits, long Edwardian redingotes and Helmut Lang jeans parkas on guys. While the slashed shouldered knits and minimalist tailoring all recalled Lang’s later commercial period. Helmut’s signature slim nylon strip waistlines and military piping appeared, but with little of the precision of the Austrian founder.
Above all, the key elements in Lang’s design, the blend of classic tailoring and proportion with subversive edge, or the unexpected raw materials, were entirely lacking. The clothes were sort of okay commercially, but not much else.
Since the founder retired in 2005, the brand Helmut Lang has suffered through several creative directors, an editor in residence and many years of losses. The gods have, indeed, been tough on Lang’s legacy.

Carla Pierini wins the 2023 Supima Design Competition

The deities were kinder to Carla Pierini, a brilliantly talented young designer from Colombia, who has just won the 2023 Supima Design Competition with a porcelain blue homage to her native country that was highly impressive.

Carla Pierini – Getty

Using elements of tie-dye, acid dying, dexterous fabric puckering and couture shapes, her five looks marked out as a designer with a great future.
Pierini took home a prize of $10,000, along with industry recognition and visibility for all of the 2023 finalists, who presented their capsule collections inside a storied midtown ballroom.

A student at Drexel University, Pierini won in a competition with eight finalists. The other seven were: Amber Kuia, Academy of Art University; Alexander Ziemba, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; Hee Jin Hwang, Fashion Institute of Technology; Wendy Weng, Kent State University; Tianze Wu, Parsons School of Design, The New School;Sahara Clemons, Rhode Island School of Design and Mariana Espinosa, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 
“This award is not about me, but about all my friends in Drexel, without whom I could never have completed the collection. I don’t think I ever really left the studio for the past three months, but they were all their too,” said Pierini.
This year marked the 16th edition of the award, a unique format where emerging designers are tasked with creating five looks using five types of Supima fabrics – shirting, twill, denim, jersey, and velveteen.
Once again, CFDA Award-winning designer, Bibhu Mohapatra, acted as mentor to the finalists, providing insight, support, and council to each contestant. The jury led by veteran designer Jeremy Scott, included industry veterans, editors, designers, and stylists: Abby Silverman, Angel Nemov, Ann Caruso, Avon Dorsey, Avril Graham, Cipriana Quann, Danya Issawi, Edward Barsamian, Emilia Petrarca, Freya Drohan, Godfrey Deeny, Jeffrey Taylor, Jerome Lamaar, Jill Manoff, Jonathan Cohen, Kelly Augustine, Laurel Pantin, Lisa Lockwood, Mahoro Seward, Mandy Lee, Mickey Boardman, Shibon Kennedy, and Victoria Brito. 

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