Much like Pieter Mulier is to Raf Simons, the Dresden born designer Kostas Murkudis was Helmut Lang’s right-hand man. When Helmut Lang started his label, the two were close friends and roommates, and it was Murkudis who helped build and design Lang’s new kind of fashion house—one for the old punks and artists. For nearly a decade, what they created together was subversive and illustrious. Collections played on proportions, with paper dresses, sheer layering, shiny fabrics, padded clothing, underwear over outerwear, and of course, silver denim. Many of these pieces found their way into the clubs of Paris and Vienna—a subcultural acceptance that would forever shape the brand.

Despite Lang's universal recognition, Murkudis' contributions to the brand are never mentioned in the press—largely because Lang himself was so under the radar about his work. But after Lang's departure in 1993, Murkudis took a few years off and decided to start his own venture in 1996. In seasons to come, he innovated his own shapes: drapery, fringe, chaps, scalloped waistlines, and allover prints. But what truly differentiated Murkudis' work from the rest was that his womenswear was intellectual yet Amazonian: bold, modern, and unapologetically sexy. Models like Gisele wore his bodycon dresses without bra, and often, underpinnings without a dress. His poster children included Chloé Sevigny and models like Guinevere Van Seenus, Karolina Kurkova, Hannah McGibbon, Kirsten Owen, as well as Maria Carla Boscono.

Murkudis continued to work for major houses like Balenciaga, Ter et Bantine, and Pringle of Scotland, yet nonetheless remains the most underrated designer of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Whether he receives mass accolades for his success or not, Kostas Murkudis’s legacy is influential in the modern scope of fashion. I spoke with Murkudis about his roots at Helmut Lang, the bittersweet nature of plagiarism in fashion, and his current projects, including a collection of garments with sound artist Alva Noto.

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