Helmut Lang’s new Love Connection-inspired campaign images are nostalgia done right

Think The Dating Game, Next, and The Bachelor.

May 16, 2018

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If you weren't watching Next — the reality dating show which aired on MTV from 2005 to 2008 — you really weren't living. Each episode consisted of "daters" choosing and next-ing their potential love interests off an RV for a blind date, and each person entered on-screen with with a thoroughly unhinged introduction sequence that pointed out how and why they would obliterate their competition. It was crass yet so much fun, and the show's visuals made its impact on a generation of wide-eyed youths, like Helmut Lang digital editor, Ava Nirui.

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Inspired by Next and its contemporaries like The Dating Game and The Bachelor, Nirui pooled from her IRL friends and acquaintances to reimagine a personal ad concept for Helmut Lang's pre-fall collection. The ads feature grainy, VHS-quality headshots that list off the 411 of a person including their interests, zodiac signs, and ages.

“I’ve always been super obsessed with the unique verbiage that goes with personal ads,” she says in a statement to Vogue about the photography project. “I recently had a realization that I’m constantly matchmaking friends and thought it would be fun to invite these friends and friends of friends to be a part of the Helmut Lang community, while potentially helping them find love in their lives.”

That's right, the personal ads are real and a quick email to love@helmutlang.com will help interested parties get connected. If you're keen on the very relatable (dare I say universal?) topics of karaoke, dumplings and wanting attention, hit up 27-year-old Sandy. The project is a tribute to the frivolity of dating shows, as well as a nod to Helmut Lang himself, who had a knack for bringing his friends on board as collaborators. The personal ads are comparatively tame beside the Next contestants's proclamations, and are a rare case of nostalgia being used in its best form. See more of the campaign, below.

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Helmut Lang’s new Love Connection-inspired campaign images are nostalgia done right