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The Decline and Fall of Helmut Lang

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by johnapril, May 26, 2005.

  1. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Yeah, read it. Looks like the worst thing he did, moneywise, was jettisoning the jeans line.
     
  2. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    There is good news however; as this leaves room for a new generation of designers to take over.

    Jon.
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    In like of the retail developments in the past 5 years, that was probably one of the biggest miscalculations in recent fashion history. Many more major designers, from Gucci to Ferre, have jeans regularly in their collections, and some (Dolce & Gabbana) present them as the centerpieces of some of their collections - to great success. This not to mention the proliferation of "premium denim", which has APC, Evisu, and Helmut Lang as benchmarks.
     
  4. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    But in reducing the production of Helmut Lang denim, Prada was in a sense killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. "This may have been good for the image, but maybe not good for the business," Ms. Sozzani said. "The entire business was based on the jeans."
    In like of the retail developments in the past 5 years, that was probably one of the biggest miscalculations in recent fashion history. Many more major designers, from Gucci to Ferre, have jeans regularly in their collections, and some (Dolce & Gabbana) present them as the centerpieces of some of their collections - to great success. This not to mention the proliferation of "premium denim", which has APC, Evisu, and Helmut Lang as benchmarks.
    Fok, you are 1 post away from 4000 posts. [​IMG] Jon.
     
  5. sam

    sam Senior member

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    Hmm. You will surpass LA Guy in ~363 days (assuming linearity and constant avg. # of posts/day). For me to be #1, it seems that murder is my only option. You two have too much time on your hands. I suggest girlfriends.
     
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Here is my 4000th post. A useless one. Oh well. I have a fiancee, am looking for faculty jobs, writing manuscripts, and am getting married in a month or so, so I have no idea how/why I post so much. Maybe the fact that I work with computer models, and sit in front of the glowing screen about 12 hours a day, has something to do with it.
     
  7. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    I'd say most professionnals who spend at least half their time in front of a computer take many small pauses to look at non-productive places like the styleforum. Well that's what I do....
     
  8. sam

    sam Senior member

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    I was only teasing, LA Guy. I like your posts. They are second, however, to johnapril, who I find utterly incomprehensible, yet hilarious.

    To get this topic back on track, why would I buy HL? Besides the suits---which are fabulous---you can get similar items at a *much* lower price point elsewhere (e.g. Yoko Devereaux). I suppose if I wanted a jean jacket with bondage straps I'm locked into HL.
     
  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    "Small" is relative. "Non-productive" equally so.
     
  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Because you can't, really. HL suits are pretty distinctive, and like Jil Sander, he has perfected a singular silhouette - lean, with narrow, slanted structured shoulders, minimal waist suppression (better hope that you are tall and lean), slim lapels, paired with straight leg or tapered, medium low rise flat front pants.
     
  11. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Ew, girls yucky, no.... j/k [​IMG] Seriously though, my work consists of periods of extremely boring lulls or a mad dash rush pace that on some days barely allows me to eat lunch. Jon.
     
  12. Charles Rogers

    Charles Rogers Senior member

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  13. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    Didn't like Raf Simons' designs... [​IMG]
     
  14. Charles Rogers

    Charles Rogers Senior member

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    Haha, that's good, because he's actually replacing jil sander, not Lang. It turns out that I may be mildly retarded. And blind.
     
  15. Luc-Emmanuel

    Luc-Emmanuel Senior member

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    This is not what's been written in the article, and it's not really what happened either.
    What Prada did was to rationalize HL distribution (retail spots), significantly reducing HL denim coverage. This is a typical "luxury conglomerate" approach : reducing the number of licensed products, reducing the number of retail places in order to strenghten the brand and stress the "exclusivity". This is the contrarian approach to the all-licensing, effectively dumping loads of logoed craps, which was taken by YSL or Pierre Cardin in the 70s. Think Calvin Klein maybe for the US.
    This approach leads to greater markup because of the sense of exclusivity you put in the brand by scarcity of retail places.

    So, to buy an HL jeans, you actually had to go to the helmut lang store. And believe me, unless you're a tourist and don't give a shit, it takes balls to step into Paris Helmut Lang store just to get a pair of denim...

    For this approach to actually work, you need many "flagships" stores, in highly selected places : tokyo comes to mind.

    Strategy :
    - remove licensed products from the market (denim in that case)
    - rationalize retail places
    - produce in-house or via group factories (prada owned)
    - significantly raise retail prices (not mentionned in this article, but helmut lang stuff just skyrocketted in the last 3-4 years)

    It didn't work. Part is because HL was too much of a niche brand, part because Prada didn't invest enough money to open enough flagship stores around the world to sell.

    That's my vision of HL fall.

    .luc
     
  16. Geowu

    Geowu Senior member

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    My opinion Helmut Lang is not the kind of glamour highly exclusive brand to have taken that approach. It is kind of alternative; practical (at least minimal, which goes against glamour); niche, not like the public image of Louis Vuitton to start reducing places and raising prices. It was a dumb approach for Helmut Lang, because he doesn't have the personality for it. He is like of never show up on events and kind of against fame, plus doesn't care much about public image. So the brand has not the profile to have taken that 'exclusivity' approach. Of course it's easy to say after it happened. [​IMG]
     
  17. Charles Rogers

    Charles Rogers Senior member

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    I really liked his fetish inspired stuff- I hope someone else is inspired by those facets of sexuality and I can someday own a pair of jeans with kinkey-chains over the fly- like Lang made.
     
  18. v0rtex

    v0rtex Senior member

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    Me too. Helmut Lang was one of my first forays into high-fashion, coming out of a goth/punk phase. I still frequent quite a few rock and other alternative clubs, and the quality of most of the bondage-style gear is very poor (SDL, Omen, Lip Service, etc) although the designs are often compelling.

    Some of Donatella Versace's collections and Vivienne Westwood (the original and still the best) seem to cater for the well-heeled pervert about town... Any others?
     
  19. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    Galliano, JPG, CDG, make some off the wall stuff as well.

    Galliano, all though the stuff is freaky, is surprisingly wearable.
     

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