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Rosen disclosed he had spoken to Lang in the early stages of Link Theory's interest in the label, though the Colovoses have not consulted with the designer.
The first capsule women's and men's collections will serve to establish a blueprint from which the design duo hopes to build Helmut Lang. For the time being, the collections will not be presented on the runways of New York Fashion Week, though Rosen did not rule that out for the future.
The company has taken a temporary space at 525 West 26th Street here. Rosen, who wouldn't disclose sales projections for the venture, said he is putting together a team to run the business, which will likely consist of a mix of executives he has worked with from Theory and new hires.
"It's a start-up, and energy and passion will be very important," he said. "Nicole and Michael had their own business, so they know what it's like, and they know what it takes. We have this great heritage to work with and a clean slate."
Retailers lauded the hire on Friday.
"We have done very well with Habitual," said Terence Bogan, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for the women's Co-Op at Barneys New York. "They have evolved the collection into other classifications and there's a lot of integrity behind what they do. I think there's a big potential, as long as the clothes keep the same kind of feeling of what Helmut Lang Jeans exuded, and as long as the distribution isn't all over the place. I am interested to see what their take will be."
Stefani Greenfield, owner of Scoop, concurred: "Nicole and Michael are phenomenally talented. They have an amazing eye for street fashion. Habitual was one of the first to pioneer the skinny jeans. Their design spirit embodies a similar vision to that of Helmut Lang. I could see someone who wore Habitual jeans with a Helmut coat or shirt. I think it's a good merger. They will be able to really inhale what has been done and show us what they can do within the same spirit."