car rims, irving penn, and makeup smears collide at area spring/summer 16
The design duo made their NYFW debut with an intimate presentation inspired by maquillage and Miami’s glossiest rides.
This morning at The Standard Hotel, Area staged a spring/summer 16 presentation that looked a little like its attending editors' pre-show routines. "It's really about the process of getting ready and makeup application," Beckett Fogg, the Kentucky-born half of the New York-based design duo said. Except the intimate presentation wasn't anywhere close to the slap-on-foundation-and-sprint-to-the-subway schpiel a few of us are probably (definitely) familiar with. The girls' slow, sultry strides past mirrors, sculptural perfume bottles, and giant spherical balloons evoked a certain air of 70s glam, and -- as Polish-Dutch designer Piotrek Panszczyk conceded -- just the right amount of narcissism.
According to the self-described "textile nerds," things at Area typically start with texture. "This season was all about sheen, gloss, and liquid, but approaching those concepts from two different angles," said Beckett. "We were looking at still lives from Irving Penn's photographs of makeup smears, and we developed that into an actual handpainted smear on the fabric." Those glittery smudges proved the collection's most delightful details: popping up on nude silk dresses and crepe pants. "The amazing thing about his pictures is that everything really looks wet, but also still. We really tried to capture that element," Piotrek added.
In addition to Penn's photographs, the pair took inspiration from Florida's car culture. "It's about these different ways at getting at the idea of sheen, so we were also interested in rims," Beckett said. Blue stretch lamé wrap tops and embossed pink slip dresses recalled Miami's most glossy whips, but the pair also incorporated hand painted rims as playful graphics, which -- outside of spring/summer 15's Leonardo DiCaprio print -- mark a different direction for the duo.
"It was the first time we took graphics off our board and really incorporated them on the garments," Piotrek explained. "We're from such different places, so we kind of collect things and in the end, combine them all together. It's pictures that we take, but also things that we pull directly from the internet." The rims revved up linen trench coats and asymmetric skirts, while sleeves bearing slogans like "playtime," "dollface," and "Amerikana" stem from a photo Piotrek took in Berlin a few years back. "We love playing with that idea of - is it real? Is it fake? Is it sourced by us? Is it copied? Whatever!"
Text Emily Manning
Lookbook photography Charlotte Wales