The unknown history of Helmut Lang and New York taxis

While most New York City residents walk around with their eyes trained on five and a half-inch screens, they have to look up eventually. When they do they often see advertisements, whether on scaffolding or billboards or whizzing past them atop yellow taxi cabs.

In 1998, Helmut Lang made history as the first fashion designer to advertise on top of cabs. Taxis are one of the city’s most popular modes of transportation—still relatively cheap and convenient—and the 14×48 inch Toblerone-shaped window that tops each one of the yellow cars is an opportunity to be seen by some of the world’s most hardcore shoppers: New Yorkers.

As an homage to Lang’s innovative marketing strategy and the designer’s relationship with New York, the brand has created three one-off pieces—two hoodies and one long sleeve shirt—inspired by the iconic Helmut Lang taxi ads. In addition, 275 Helmut Lang branded taxis will be re-circulating the Big Apple this month—stumble into the right one and you might be rewarded with some Helmut merch. To celebrate the creative force that started it all, we styled the pieces where it all began—in the streets of the city.