“This is the holiday season, so for us, it was a great moment to do what we’re good at, which is explore embellishment,” said Area designer Piotrek Panszczyk during a preview of the New York label’s resort collection now available online.
Area’s exploration of texture and materials continues to wow, this season inspired by everything from royal brooches to fetish wear, flower children to fake nails.
“It’s about creating items people get excited about and have some sort of emotional connection to — that’s the beauty of clothing for us, how can we not overproduce and make things people want to treasure for life,” said Panszczyk, who founded Area in 2014 with Beckett Fogg.
Since then, the duo has managed to create a potent brand identity that’s now being filtered from couture to tailoring to T-shirts to crystal thongs.
In the last two years, they have settled into a see-now, buy-now schedule, which is working for them. “We’ve been training our customer to be part of that, and to get pieces before they sell out,” Panszczyk said, adding that a brick-and-mortar retail store in New York could be coming as soon as February.
In the meantime, among the resort season’s many intriguing objets was a scalloped edge miniskirt inspired by the tradition of Indian beetle wing embroidery, only using full sets of red fake nails and crystals as embellishment.
“We like to play with classic ideas but with unconventional materials,” he said.
They translated lace into metal work, creating hot pink, crystal-strung, glam-meets-gaudy lingerie pieces that would seem music video bound. “You decide what’s good or bad, we like to keep that option open to our clientele,” he explained of their inclusive point of view.
Riffing on the idea of fetish wear, a black cropped crystal cage corset blazer paired with a micro-mini with an oversized hip buckle was a knockout look that should also appeal to the label’s pop star fanbase. Meanwhile, a cropped pink fringed tweed blazer trimmed in crystals and a matching mini with a domed stud belt detail was a softer, Cher Horowitz take on suiting.
The duo brought their own spin to studding, enlarging the hardware, punching it through with stones, and using it on a drapey, one-shouldered dress. And they channeled flower power into a daisy top they worked hard to make more soft, moldable and easy to wear by mounting crystal chains on lightweight wadding.
“Our couture pieces are notoriously heavy. It’s always a battle of getting the weight down. But each season we’re getting smarter at working with different types of metals,” said Panszczyk. “What we do veers toward jewelry a lot and with that comes its own set of problems. But the problem solving is what keeps us going.”