I interned at the Helmut Lang press office during my final semester in college, when Helmut was still at the helm. I never got to meet him; I'd miss him each time I came in. At the time Prada was taking over the company so there were personnel changes, including shutting down the in-house PR.
As a result, my internship didn't last very long and I got this cream-colored sweater as a parting gift. I feel lucky to have this sartorial souvenir, both because I love the design and it's one of the last pieces from the Helmut Lang label when it was led by the designer himself. I remember the entire collection at the time being nautically inspired, with rope-like drawstrings and accents reminiscent of bubbles. This bulbous knit piece makes me look a little pregnant but I don't mind. Along the neckline it has buttons and button holes that can be connected in a variety of ways.
For a while I didn't know how to wear this. I think I tried to control it a little too much: I would essentially try to wear this sweater like I would a typical sweater, but that's impossible because it is odd and bulky, in the stomach area of all places. Once I realized I needed to work with its undulating, wavy form and embrace its awkwardness rather than fight it by trying to flatten the torso area, it started to make sense.
I've had this sweater for over ten years (along with my Meredith Burns sequined dress) and I like to wear it repetitively in the winter. I've sort of formed a bond with it, which may seem like a silly thing to say about a piece of clothing, but can you blame me? We have history.