Area Turns Silk Into Scales
There was no better way to enter the Area presentation than with the sexy sound of Bossa Nova playing overhead. Even though the weather outside continued to be grey and dismal, inside, The Standard, High Line had been revamped to look like Barbie’s boudoir if she had been the main character in Woody Allen’s Sleeper or any James Bond movie during the Sean Connery era.
For A-R-E-A’s MADE Fashion Week debut, the models would enter the set in groups of three and subtly play with the furniture, which included giant white balloon orbs and mirrored tables. But what was more impressive than the romantic posh-villain set were the actual clothes themselves, which included one and two piece outfits in a demure pastel and grey palette. Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg once again proved their talent with textile manipulation, as the silks used in most pieces ended up resembling mermaid scales. The vibe was all mod; from the clothes, to the tunes, to the slicked-back ponys, and even the oversized clear Lucite hoops that matched the square-heeled buckled shoes. A-R-E-A’s got us dreaming of 1969, Moneypenny, and dirty martinis – shaken, not stirred.
We spoke to the designers during the marathon presentation to hear about the diverse mash of influences behind their debut collection:
What was the driving force behind this collection?
P: We’re always interested in texture, and this collection is all about gloss and sheen. So the issue became, how do we get there? To solve it, we traveled down south to Florida and looked at tuned up cars. We really loved that metallic texture that the metal on the rims have, and we wanted to juxtapose that with something really pretty.
B: So we started looking at old Irving Penn photography, lots of still-lifes, lots of make-up smears. And you can actually see that on a lot of the clothing, that idea of sheen and gloss. For us it always starts with the textiles, whether that’s a beautiful make-up smear or a car rim that’s very shiny and glossy. That piece that just came out for example started from a hand-drawn car rim that we screen-printed. It’s about bringing these different ideas together that becomes something more than just designing. It’s meant to be quite intimate, and this idea of make-up application and getting ready. That’s what the presentation is about as well.
Well speaking of the presentation, where did you get the idea for balloons and oils?
B: It’s like an abstract beauty counter (laughs). We spoke with one of our friends who’s a designer to try to make it happen, but we really ended up doing it ourselves. We wanted to keep it intimate, getting back to that idea of make-up application and getting ready, but we didn’t want the girls to just stand in the space, we really wanted them to interact and move around.
P: This is really our first time doing a presentation and we didn’t want it to feel static, so we designed this set around the collection with the idea of fluidity.
Is there such a thing as ‘the AREA Studio Girl’?
B: She changes a lot (laughs). We love looking at different American subcultures, that’s something else we always start with. She’s always an abstraction of those.
What subculture are we seeing in this collection?
B: This woman from Florida. Not a specific woman, she’s not necessarily from the coast or inland, but she has a lot of dualities to her personality. And that informed our idea of sheen: it’s a car rim but it’s also this make-up set up. Different pieces that somehow fit together.
What was one of the most difficult parts about bringing this collection to life?
P: After looking at the old Irving Penn photographs from the 80’s, we noticed that his make-up was done in a way where everything looked alive and liquid. And so all of our make-up applications in this collection are actually liquid and they really move.
That sounds really tricky!
P: It was very tricky! Very tricky to make! But everything we do is very tricky. We try to make things look simple and effortless but you don’t see the countless trial and error.