Sunday 10 September 2023

New York Fashion Week: AREA'S Ready-to-Wear and Couture AW23 Collection

The clever trompe l'oeil fabric made to look like luxurious fur, created by AREA, as part of their new collection, shown at New York Fashion Week. Photographs courtesy of Arena

This season, New York label AREA's new collection explores sartorial choices throughout history, examining how fur was worn for survival and then evolved into a symbol of opulence. Creative director, Piotrek Panszczyk, reimagines traditional fur with printed textiles aiming to redefine luxury and transform it from an emblem of wealth into something more inclusive and contemporary, reports Antonio Visconti

It looks like fur but is a trompe l'oeil
version created by Area
AREA's innovative approach to recreating another version of fur
involved creating images in trompe l'oeil denim, fluid crepe viscose, and silk jacquard. Even vintage fur pelts were photocopied, and the artwork was printed onto different fabrics. 

Beyond the graphics of the textile design, the three-dimensional sense of fur was created with voluminous overcoats, scalloped, puffy skirts, jeans and dresses. The inspiration for the jewellery, an integral part of the collection, drew upon prehistory when bones were used as adornment. 

Bone shapes made of resin embellish the garments with some lacquered while others have Swarovski crystals and gleaming, silvery claws on suits, denim and gowns. 

"Our first exploration of bones was through hand-sculpting exaggerated bone-like shapes that are lacquered in resin enamel and encrusted with Swarovski rivoli crystals," explains Piotrek Panszczyk. 

"These bones are then knotted into dramatically draped couture gowns and abstract jewelry. We reimaged bones and skulls as adornments by crafting thousands of Swarovski crystals into bombé skull heads, bracelets, and colliers. 

Traditional fur is reimagined with printed textiles, with trompe l'oeil images on denim, fluid crepe viscose, and silk jacquard.

Resin bones encrusted with crystals 
become part of the fur-printed gown
"This technique was then translated through embroidered crystal and paillette cups on dresses, tops, and fully encrusted catsuits.

"We wanted to infuse a sense of savage beauty into the collection by creating hand-moulded jewellery claws that slice open elegant suiting pieces, body-hugging cocktail dresses, and slashed denim, offering a new take ‘distressing'." 

Area was founded in New York nine years ago by Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg. The brand name was inspired by the famous Eighties Manhattan nightclub known for its performance art and high octane nights. 

The designers originally met as students at Parsons as both were completing a Masters in Fashion Design and Society. 

Fogg comes from Kentucky and Polish-born Panszczyk was brought up in Holland. Today, they not only explore innovative techniques and materials but also philosophical notions around beauty and femininity. 

See more highlights from the AREA AW23 collection below

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