Area basks in a profound, glamorous and complex beauty. Designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk are constantly challenging archetypes to be more inclusive in their ever-evolving approach to high-glamour dressing.
They continued to highlight the creative possibilities of their signature Preciosa crystal cup chain, but in a nod toward wearability, they reeled in their use of it on some of the singular pieces in the fall collection they showed at The Africa Center.
That didn’t mean a lack of shine — or fun, eclecticism and head-turning moments; the designers noted backstage that hundreds of yards of chain were utilized across dresses, sexy tops, headpieces, bras, trimmings and accessories. The architectural shapes took cues from Madame Grès, whose sculpted constructions the designers related back to their own use of crystals. You could see the influence in draped, padded dresses and crystal ones UV-printed with postcards by Japanese artists that they blew up.
It continued with the idea of soft architecture, accounting for the voluminous heart-shaped stunners that closed the show. There were quieter moments with boxy tailoring un-embellished and treated with crystal-lined burnout patterns. It all made for one of the most uncompromisingly innovative and exciting shows to date, brimming with red-carpet potential and the type of creative energy New York has been lacking.
For Fogg and Panszczyk, it’s all about human connection. That’s where The Africa Center comes in. The designers are collaborating with the center’s portal program to connect students from the New Design High School on the Lower East Side, where they used to show, with students in Lagos, Nigeria, who are also studying fashion design, in real time. “Inspiring people by what you can do with your hands, that’s the most important thing,” Panszczyk said. Proceeds from art objects, including a kitschy “chair” bag, a collaboration with lifestyle brand Myreality, will go to The Africa Center.