Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk aren’t afraid to give you full-on fun, unapologetic fashion with a capital F. Their fall show was highly eccentric, ultra feminine, sexy and, at times, quirky and weird. These aren’t new elements to Area, but this was, or at least it appeared to be, the first time the designers fully embraced their eclectic glory. It was, by far, their most wide-ranging and versatile collection to date.
Backstage after the show, the designers were feeling nervous and proud. “We’re basically a couple of kids [who] started a brand in New York and we’re at a point now that our team is just killer,” Panszczyk said, before continuing on about the collection’s multireferential narrative of contrasts — contrasts of subtle and loud, cheap and chic, ethnic origins and female emotions. It applied to the show venue, too, which they staged on Wall Street but got ready for at the adjacent bodega.
They opened with what appeared to be a group of sophisticated houndstooth, but which upon closer examination was the letter “A” repeated for a play on logos. A bodysuit with a great rounded shape paved the way for drama via knit fringe on a poncho that read “Power Play,” or the similarly exaggerated fringe on the cuffs of a sweater styled under a puffer with a graphic logo print. The conceptual, architectural ruffles of mini party dresses took their shapes from Sixties couture silhouettes, especially those of André Courrèges during his time at Balenciaga, who had a similar ability to push the envelope.
The designers noted that they demonstrated restraint as well. Women who aren’t so keen on the colored crystal poncho could opt for earrings or a great zip-up bodysuit with crystal fringe, or tie-dye in place of logos. In one collection, you could just as easily buy an oversize knit with crystal-filled cutouts or a crystal face mask. That was the point: Fogg and Panszczyk are concerned less about offering one singular style than they are about providing options for confident women who want to build upon a dynamic wardrobe.