Yves, Rei, Martin, Raf and Hedi. These names are pillars of contemporary fashion, and all have shaped how we dress ourselves today. But you’d be remiss to leave out one name in particular—a man who practically defined modern minimalism, embraced the internet’s influence on the runway and directly inspired some of the biggest names in the game today. That man is Helmut Lang.

As one of the most impactful designers of the 1990s, Lang’s signatures can be found on runways across the globe and stuffed onto high street shelves. Bondage-inflected bomber jackets, low-rise jeans (with and without speckles and splatters of paint) and ripped, deconstructed tailoring all owe a debt to Lang. As German fashion designer Bernard Wilhelm explained to i-D “Without Helmut Lang there would be no Céline, no Raf...I’ve heard from people working at different fashion houses that there is always a Helmut Lang piece hanging and it’s right there to be copied.”

However, after selling his brand in 2005, the house that Helmut built slowly faded from the spotlight. While the brand has continued to operate consistently at a high level, it never quite recaptured the magic that its founder injected into the global fashion conversation decades ago.

Recently though, Helmut Lang has begun a bit of a comeback, tapping Dazed and Confused editor-in-chief Isabella Burley to creatively helm the brand as “editor-in-residence” and commissioning Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver to work on a one-off solo collection. Following Oliver’s runway show for Helmut Lang this September, the brand will invite a new designer to create a new, one-off collection. It’s a remarkably fitting concept for a brand that’s been known to bring fresh ideas to the runway season after season.

“The idea of appointing different designers to work on projects was borne of the notion of how Helmut as a legacy has influenced a new generation of designers,” Burley explained to Vogue.

Even though this is an unveiling first look at the next chapter for Helmut Lang, old fans and Lang archivists will be the ones feeling right at home. One of Burley’s first moves in her new role was to revive the classic Helmut Lang type and logo. “One of the first things I wanted to do was bring back the logo, given that we’re trying to ignite the spirit of the past,” said Burley. “I want Helmut Lang to be an authority on Helmut Lang.”

Keeping in mind Lang’s deep design archive and most iconic garments, Burley’s also made concessions to die-hard Lang collectors. Starting in September, Helmut Lang will be re-releasing pieces from the archive, all with the same attention to detail that helped define Lang’s original work. The first drop, titled “Volume 1” consists of 15 key pieces and will hit shelves in September. A new “Volume” will follow roughly every four months afterwards.

But we know what you’re thinking—”what do the clothes actually look like?” Showcasing the label’s new-meets-old approach, the brand has tapped photographer Ethan James Greene to snap a selection of artists, models and muses that embody the Helmut Lang of both past and present.

Breaking down the campaign’s cast, Burley explained, “There’s a real mix of cultural thinkers and writers, then also cult Helmut muses like Alek Wek...and then putting them alongside Traci Lords. A lot of people won’t remember that Traci was on the cover of Details in May 1995 wearing custom pieces made for her by Helmut. I loved the idea of Traci being an unexpected Helmut Lang muse and inviting her back into the brand.”

Taken together, it’s a clear signal the Helmut Lang is brand that’s back on the map in big way. Noting the designer’s influence on a generation of writers, editors, artists and—simply put—fashion fans, the idea that today’s Helmut Lang would revive its business with that particular legacy in mind is strategically savvy.

“There are a lot of people who really want to fall back in love with Helmut Lang,” noted Burley. “The intention is to celebrate those great archival pieces, reignite the conversation, and introduce Helmut Lang to a new generation of kids so that they can respond to the legacy in their own way.”

Tags: raf-simons, hood-by-air, helmut-lang