Peter Do is spending four days out of five at Helmut Lang; the other is reserved for his own line, though he admits he also works most weekends. It’s a big commitment, reviving and enlivening a contemporary brand of this scale. It’s a much bigger business than he’s used to, but also, he says, “there’s a lot more ambition, now that I’m here.”
At his own brand he shows twice a year, for efficiency’s sake, so doing pre-season collections is new for him. Also, at Phoebe Philo’s Céline, he worked on the runway shows, which required a wow-factor mindset and less thinking about everyday wardrobing. But walking the rails that wrap around the Helmut Lang showroom, the impression is that Do is meeting his new challenges; he’s designing with a quiet assurance. You can easily see these clothes hanging on racks in stores (the brand is currently looking for a SoHo space for a new flagship) and imagine customers being attracted to their essential cool.
This is particularly true of the denim that Do has made with one eye on the archive and the other on the here-and-now. The paint-splattered pieces, an OG HL specialty, are all done by hand; “we have this guy in LA that does it,” Do said. And the raw denim is cut with adaptable flap pockets, versatility being one of Do’s signatures. The tailoring, meanwhile, is made with an attention to detail that seems rare at these price points—see the inner waistband of the trousers for proof.
Here and there, things get a bit too fussy, with excess straps and oversize proportions, but all the zippers you see have a function: The sleeves come off a leather biker jacket, and pants zip into shorts or go from straight-leg to flared. A two-in-one bomber puffer in black with white accents was a real standout.