Is there any designer in New York City more qualified to take Helmut Lang’s helm than Peter Do? The storied NY label, once synonymous with ’90s minimalism, is now being lead by a young NY designer synonymous with contemporary modernism. Perfect.
The designer’s hiring at Helmut Lang is almost too perfect. Two names indicative of two distinct yet intertwined eras of New York fashion, united by a shared love of real clothes and disdain of fashion’s typical trappings.
Do’s appreciation for Helmut Lang’s trailblazing approach is clearly visible in his debut collection, Spring/Summer 2024.
“No one embodied radical thinking more definitively than Helmut Lang,” Do said when he was appointed to lead Helmut Lang. “It is my deep honor to be entrusted with ushering in the next chapter of Helmut Lang’s legacy.”
Titled “Born to Go,” Do’s first Helmut Lang collection was introduced with a brief essay from artist Ocean Vuong. It explored queer identity and the pair’s origin stories by using the car as a metaphor.
Cars have been a core Helmut Lang motif since the days when Lang placed his text-only advertisements atop taxi cabs in the mid-’90s.
Do’s Helmut Lang SS24 collection explores what the designer has titled a “system of dress.” By this, he means versatile sets and separates that blend seamlessly. Black is the shade of the day and the dress code is “elegant” with a dash of “self-assured.”
Unapologetically minimalist, Do’s Helmut Lang clothes are modular, multi-purpose, and limited only by the wearer’s imaginations. There’s black suiting punctuated with yellow tuxedo stripes — perhaps another nod to NYC’s iconic taxi cabs. Draped dresses, sharp jackets, and slinky shirting (also in various shades of black) are easily mixed and matched, exuding effortless cool. Untied from seasons and fashionable inclinations, Do’s Helmut Lang promises perpetual stylishness.
Peter Do, a student of Phoebe Philo, founded his eponymous brand in 2018 upon his graduation from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Within a half-decade, the name Peter Do become representative of a new approach to understated elegance.
Some call it quiet luxury, some just wear it, comfortable in the knowledge that their good taste is assured by Do’s deft hand.
Like Lang himself, Do isn’t interested in the air-kiss fluff often associated with fashion.
He eschews trends, influencers, and conventional campaigns, perpetually obscuring his face in photographs while being imminently communicative with his robust fanbase on Instagram. The only thing Do seeks to be known for is excellent clothing.
But, whereas recent-era Helmut Lang has succumbed to marketing gimmicks in place of the no-nonsense aesthetic that became Lang’s calling card, Do has only honed his oeuvre.
For Banana Republic, Do will create a democratized capsule that offers his inimitably advanced design language at approachable prices (more expensive than normal Banana Republic clothes, less expensive than Peter Do mainline).
Do can tackle all of these projects without diluting his vision simply because his vision is ironclad. Take in a Peter Do runway and observe the sheer cohesion that unites everything from the casting to the soundtrack. Rare that a designer as young as Do can find themselves so quickly; this speaks to his innate gifts.
You don’t even need to look at the social media reception — it’s electric — to know that Helmut Lang’s future is in good hands. This is the new NYC minimalism.
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