A facsimile of the safety cage harness featured as a central component throughout AW03 recreated using the same old stock hardware as the ones from the runway and new military spec aviation webbing. This facsimile was recreated after countless hours of research and analysis of the original runway specimens housed in museums. Read the full article here.
Helmut Lang AW03 masterfully showcased visually charged renditions of military inspirations and bondage by reframing overt references like aviator suit corset lacing and safety belt style harnesses while maintaining complete cohesiveness with his perfect tailoring, paving the way for contemporary fashion.
One of the most iconic and prevalent motifs of the season is the parachute style harness. Composed of strap webbing with a buckle and sliders, the accessory itself is physically rather unassuming, yet it perfectly encapsulates AW03’s aviator themes and references to BDSM culture with Seditionaries styling. Moreover, its wide use in various looks in the runway established it as an extremely versatile accessory, worn over knits, silk dresses, and under suits.
The original harness unfortunately never made it to production due to the extremely limited quantity of the third-party hardware used. Instead, the production version used a narrow cotton strap with a more generic 4-way plastic buckle, losing the rigidity and robustness of the original military-inspired look. The runway version however utilized a proprietary and highly secure buckle. Despite being plastic, the design included redundancies which ensured its original critical life-saving purpose.
Though the proprietary hardware was difficult to acquire already in 2003, it was discontinued about a decade ago making it even more challenging to source now. Luckily we've managed to find a very small quantity of old-stock buckles exactly identical to the ones used by Helmut Lang.
The hardware also mandated an unusual non-standard strap width, which even the Helmut Lang team had trouble sourcing. One example of the runway versions feature two smaller-width straps sewn together to create the correct width. Fortunately, after extensive research we've managed to source the correct width straps fit for the purpose: genuine military spec aviation seatbelt webbing. AW03 also featured the aggressive harness rendered in a subversive silk satin, which we've also meticulously sourced in the correct width from the most premium silk ribbon available.
The final product is a meticulous and exact recreation of the most iconic accessory from one of the most iconic seasons of Helmut Lang, of which only ~10 were made, and which is impossible to find anywhere as most reside in museums. Because of the very small finite number of buckles remaining, this is a rare chance to complement any 00s Helmut Lang ensemble or piece with an homage even more fitting than the production version harnesses.
Available in Black Webbing, White Webbing, Black Silk, Cream Silk
Handmade in NYC just like the original New condition