The opening look of Area‘s first ever runway collection was quite a message. A cage dress made from bands of Japanese selvedge denim and covered in jumbo spikes around the body, sleeves and neck, was an immediate plea to be left alone, but worn with flat sandals, you could almost imagine the practical implications of wearing such a garment out in the real world – perhaps to take the train by oneself late at night? If it wasn’t obvious that underneath the spikes there was a wearable sporty denim dress, then the second look, a bustier with a sweetheart necklace and a matching miniskirt also made of denim, and featuring the season’s “folded bondage bow,” as it was named it in the show notes, finished spelling it out. At Area there is constant exploration of the liminal space between aggression and rebellion and making beautiful clothes that sell. “For me it’s always been so hard to understand that there’s this separation between stuff that you sell and stuff that you dream of,” designer Piotrek Panszczyk said after the show. “And it’s really about connecting the dots and showing people how they’re related to each other, and why both are really important.” And so if you looked beyond the jumbo spikes and the folded pyramid elements and the fantastic sculptural pieces that are Area’s signature, you’d notice the sporty jersey track pants with multicolor Swarovski details down the side worn with an easy sleeveless tank with a cutout detail at the chest, or the silver velvet jeans worn with a matching bustier. You’d also spot a series of cocktail dresses that were classic in their execution, including a purple mini dress with a pleated detail at the sweetheart neckline (“Purple is this kind of religious color, there’s something very priest-like about it, so we wanted to embrace that and twist it and show it in a different way,” Panszczyk explained). Area also announced a collaboration with Sergio Rossi for this season, who did several pairs of high heeled strappy sandals as well as a pair of flats. This certainly isn’t my favourite Area collection (feels too overworked), but big thumbs up for all the experimenting.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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