Celebrities who correspond with designer Helmut Lang might’ve been touched to learn that he keeps the letters sent to him—and surprised that he’s publishing them. They appear in a supplement to the French fashion magazine Purple, as part of The Selective Memory Series, an art-project book of postage-stamp-size copies of the letters. “I’m a little embarrassed,” said one pen pal, who hadn’t been informed beforehand. “But at the same time, you want to be in there.” Artist Jenny Holzer didn’t mind. “I have a small personal life, so I appreciate seeing evidence of it,” she says. Lang’s rep’s spin is that the missives form an “abstract visual pattern” in which “content becomes irrelevant.” A magnifying glass reveals a clear pattern in the letters: fulsome gratitude. Excerpts:
Thank you sooo much for all your care and fantastic looking clothes. I feel so honored that you’d take such good care of me.
Thank you always for your … friendship and support. Hope we can lunch very soon; I love your Alice picture. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Uma Thurman & Ethan Hawke
Thank you so much for all the clothes. We love them all.
Many many thanks for your brilliance and generosity …
Bruce Weber & Nan Bush
You are a character. The clothes for the dogs are so great that I can’t wait to see them wearing it.
Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Vanity Fair international social editor
Thank you so much for thinking of me—my flowers were absolutely gorgeous; Thank you for the lovely Valentine chocolates … the last thing I need for my big big hips!!!
Thanks so much for the invitation to your show in Paris—as much as I’d love to go, my shooting schedule won’t allow me to get there. Keep inviting me—I’ll keep trying to come.
Thank you for the beautiful handbag. Such a generous gift—you are too kind.
Thank you so much for the coats. They are so beautiful!
Thank you for the beautiful birthday flowers!; Thank you for the beautiful Christmas peppers! And the flowers for my Vogue issue!
James Truman, former editorial director of Condé Nast
The clothes are divine, and were rapturously received. You are, as always, a Prince.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your show—Unfortunately, I am unable to leave my office ...
Linda Wells, Allure editor
Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers in Paris—and the even more beautiful clothes. I love your new fragrance, seriously. I wear it every day.
Many many thanks for arranging my weekend in Paris! I loved l’Hotel. You looked fabulous and I liked your friends a lot.
Carine Roitfeld, French Vogue editor
Thank you for my handcuff! … I’m yours forever!
Stella Tennant, model
Thank you so much for the beautiful Christmas decorations. They have such a nostalgic charm.
Good day. I did go shopping and it was a pleasure. ... I scored a nice silver jacket so I feel fancy. Many thanks. I was very glad to have you standing beside me at the river.
Never mind the awards, I looked smashing, didn’t I?
Correction: An excerpted letter from Bruce Weber & Nan Bush was originally listed as Bruce Weber & Nan Goldin. New York regrets the error.