Spring 2022 Couture Collection

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For all the places Area has taken us, around the world and in space, a nightclub has strangely never been a stop along the way. Perhaps it was too obvious for Piotr Panszczyk – Area is a brand rooted in crystal trims and sexy cutouts. You get it; he doesn’t really need to spell it. But wow, what a treat when he does. For its spring 2022 collection, Area has finally tapped into its showgirl roots, evoking the deco glamor of Zizi Jeanmaire, the exuberant costumes of the Brazilian Carnival and the laid-back glitz of an off-duty Vegas dancer. “We’re all showgirls,” Panszczyk said in Area’s new Crosby Studios-designed showroom, which is all-silver from ceiling to floor except for one all-gold bathroom ( “Wouldn’t you be upset if the bathroom was just normal?” he asked). “And showgirls aren’t just about being pretty. It’s political; it’s about their bodies and they’re tough.

Area Follies are bursting with sparkle – crystal pants, obsessive beads in every color of the rainbow, AREA spelled out in crystal on their flip flops – but the spirit is different. No more thoughtless glitter, no more casual sensuality. In one video, Connie Fleming, Janet Jumbo, Sophie Koella, Precious Lee, Lulu Tenney and Mariana Pardinho move like Mugler-inspired Barbarellas – rigid, assertive, almost menacing in their beauty. The clothes are as varied as the women who wear them: tracksuits are trimmed with feathers; baggy jeans have cutouts on the thighs; and blazers are modeled on corset forms, closing with hook-and-loop closures. There’s no doubt: these are over the top pieces for a woman who knows what she wants.

As for the couture elements of Area’s latest addition, kudos to Panszczyk for asking a question so crazy it’s surely never been asked before: what if Jean Arp was sexy and sparkly? Working with embroidery artisans in India, the designer constructed bulbous bodies from strict padding and stitching, and had them fully embroidered with beads, crystals and sequins. Metal headpieces, tops and jewelry were handcrafted by a German artist in Rome to evoke the quivering of feathers. The level of handwork is resplendent, and amid a NYFW of problem-solving clothing, it’s even more of a pleasure to be in the presence of such pure creativity. It’s also funny. As we sat on the sofa of Area – a section made up of the inflated letters AREA – and watched the film, Panszczyk shouted, “It gives a bird!” on Tenney’s feathered boots. Fashion can be too serious; Panszczyk has found his groove with this collection and isn’t afraid to laugh about it. Well done all around!

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