“Savage, but also glamorous,” Piotrek Panszczyk said of Area’s fall ready-to-wear and couture collection.
For almost 10 years now he and Beckett Fogg have been manipulating themes into highly crafted, often glamorously crystalized, cinematic clothing that has a bit of dark-tinged humor, which this season, Panszczyk said, was “a bit more gloomy.”
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For fall, Panszczyk was thinking about primal instincts — the first time humans started wearing clothing, then out of necessity and consisting of animal hides and bones.
“Then it transformed over decades and centuries into symbols of power, wealth, aristocracy, but then in the ’70s and ’80s, it started turning into excess and something quite negative,” he said ahead of the Williamsburg Savings Bank-set runway show. “It was very interesting for us to think about these key tropes in life that we’re all kind of obsessed with, like fashion, always looking good — even knowing that maybe it’s not always good. Where does that come from and how can we turn that on its head?”
The symbolism of the fur coat and clothing cycles — necessity, status symbol, excess — throughout history became a centerpoint, seen through a stellar collection designed to re-contextualize the ideas of historical luxury.
No animals were harmed in the making of the collection. Instead, Panszczyk proposed a new take on faux fur in the form of full fur trompe l’oeil silk jacquard, crepe viscose and denim looks made from warp prints of photocopied vintage pelts — genius.
“In the end, these coats became godets that are almost in the ‘90s Alaia mood,” he said of the myriad faux fur coats, skirts and dresses. The idea extended into thigh-high boots, underpinnings and fox stole-inspired layers (some of which were entirely embroidered and sequined). A few looks even boasted neon, fluffed textures; although not as primitive, the line’s most straightforward offering of sparkling denim and sleek tailoring felt just as glamorous.
Models donned big, teased hair — a reference to not only Neanderthals, but also Sonia Rykiel in the ’70s — or shorter ‘80s inspired ‘dos (an era that a few slick black looks nicely leaned into, like a sleek, skintight jumpsuit), and many of their faces were covered with megawatt crystalized masks.
Panszczyk said he wanted to create tension between “things that are really savage and kind of brutal, but also truly beautiful,” so he leaned into fluidity (more than ever before) with Madam Gres and Vionnet-inspired, dazzling, sparkling pastel drapey gowns with protruding, hand-carved polystyrene bone-shaped hardware (hand-painted with marble effects in resin and carved-out and crystalized through a bombé technique). Elsewhere, gilded and crystal embroidered claws ripped at precision cuts on denim sets, sharp suiting and a black ponte catsuit.
Self-reflection, the Area way, looked primitively, instinctually sublime.
Launch Gallery: Area RTW Fall 2023
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