For five years now, Nicole and Michael Colovos have made the Helmut Lang contemporary brand synonymous with edgy urban cool, their design vocabulary dominated by asymmetric draping, distressed leather, and a palette of mostly neutrals and black. For Spring, they changed things up considerably—not the edgy, urban cool part, but the way they got there. The first point of difference was the color: surfer-bright slashes of orange or sea blue that appeared on a color-blocked tank dress or a reversible leather jacket. The second was the prints. Made in collaboration with the tattoo artist Thomas Hooper, scrolling medallion motifs decorated motocross jackets and short, fitted dresses; the jacquard print of a bright red crustacean on a T-shirt dress was inspired by the designers' own photo research of underwater creatures. With the sea as a central theme, many of the pieces they sent out had a slick, wet look.
In their efforts to push the collection in new directions, the Colovoses moved themselves closer to the work of others. Color and print have been the big stories for several seasons now. No one owns them outright, of course, but the Colovoses' peers have certainly put their own stamps on them. It's a risky venture, breaking the boundaries of what has until now defined you, but the husband-and-wife duo did reap some rewards this season. The crab-claw cotton pants that opened the show—so named because of their baggy, slouched-on shape—had a sporty appeal that crossed over into boxy silk tees and snug-fitting jackets paneled with leather and canvas. Longtime believers in the line, meanwhile, will be pleased to note the appearance of an outfit consisting of motocross jacket, slick T-shirt, and silky shorts—all in black.