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August 2 2014

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Master Class

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It might have been a balmy after-work Friday evening, but an impressive fashion lot made their way to Washington Square to preview Helmut Lang’s latest show, titled simply Helmut Lang: Sculptures.┬áThe power players in the room, including Barneys’ Mark Lee, Ed Filipowski, and Cecilia Dean, were a testament to the designer-turned-artist’s lasting draw. “It’s really a confirmation of Helmut’s style,” said Giambattista Valli, who was in town for the Met gala and was taking in the rubber, foam, sheepskin, and tar stacked sculptures—modern totems of a sort (pictured). Valli, who has never met Lang, admitted he had long been an admirer. “He came into fashion and completely changed the aesthetic,” he said. “It went from the over-the-top eighties to his own clean and spare aesthetic. If you look around, his aesthetic continues to today.”

Lang’s forward-thinking, stark work contrasted particularly nicely with the classic parlor-floor town house space, including vintage moldings. The viewing venue came courtesy of art veteran Mark Fletcher, who co-curated the exhibit with Neville Wakefield. “It’s not easy to make the transition from fashion to art,” Fletcher said. “But when Helmut shredded his fashion archive, I thought ‘This guy is really serious.’ ” Fletcher was also quick to point out, though, that those with vision shouldn’t be restricted. “People like to keep people in specific arenas, whether it’s art, music, film, or fashion,” he said. “But transgressing cultural boundaries is what’s interesting. Look at Tom Ford.”

Helmut Lang: Sculptures, 24 Washington Square North, is on view until June 15.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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