Backstage with Sonny Vandevelde at Helmut Lang

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In the turbulent backstage area of Helmut Lang’s latest show, one could find an ecosystem of its own—a realm where art and immediacy intersect, all captured by the lens of Sonny Vandevelde. Tensions felt palpable, but so did the anticipation. Amidst the haze of hairspray and the feverish swiping of makeup brushes, there was a peculiar serenity that only veterans like Vandevelde could perceive.

It’s a theater of details, this backstage, often glossed over in favor of the runway spectacle. But Vandevelde’s photographs invite us into a narrative usually shrouded from the public eye—a subtext to the polished text of the runway that offers a rawer tale of craftsmanship and vulnerability.

Models, rather than appearing as untouchable muses, are revealed in their states of becoming. Vandevelde’s images articulate a subtle dichotomy: the pursuit of perfection against the beauty of imperfection.

If Helmut Lang’s garments serve as a meditation on form and function, then Vandevelde’s work could be considered a parallel inquiry—into the layered choreography that enables such a vision to manifest. In an industry often rife with surface, this photo series takes us deeper, and in doing so, enriches the story told on the runway.

Vandevelde doesn’t merely shoot pictures; he documents a process steeped in tradition and tinged with modernity, a juxtaposition that  Peter Do for Helmut Lang itself has mastered. Each click of the shutter seems to punctuate a whispered conversation between the visible and the hidden, the glamorous and the gritty.

In a world where the final product often eclipses the effort invested in its creation, Vandevelde  reminds us that the process is equally, if not more, entrancing. After all, the soul of fashion exists not just in what is seen, but also in what is rarely revealed. And it’s in this scarcely illuminated space that the photographer finds his truest subject.



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.