THE THEME Area puts the see in see-now-buy-now with its special demi-couture Fall 2024 collection. Creative director Piotrek Pansczcyk deployed his pop-surrealist craft to explore a very topical theme of vision and viewership, most notably brought to life through the use of tons of googly eyes.
Design motifs that the designer has previously incorporated in his playfully avant-garde work, like masks and breast plates, are reworked with oversized wiggle eyes that bounce wildly and fix their goofy yet penetrating gaze on all passersby. Other pieces deployed serious couture craft in service of silliness, transforming thousands of the eyes into sculptural dresses or swapping the pupils out with crystals.
But underneath the extravagance and theatricality, serious themes emerge. It’s impossible not to be reminded of both the ever-growing presence of weaponized surveillance and a cultural obsession with superficial appearances over substance. In his own cleverly surreal way, Pansczcyk seems to be saying that, though we see more images than ever, people may have lost sight of something deeper. Or perhaps just that opposite – that we are seeing too much, that to always be seen is in fact something uncanny, strange, or even horrifying.
THE BUZZWORDS Eyes. Surrealism. Surveillance. Performance.
Look #3 Bouncing down the runway with alien whimsicality, this dress and matching mask encapsulates Area’s idiosyncratic synthesis of conceptual drama, atelier elegance, and incisive humor.
THE ON-BRAND FACTOR
THE BRAND EVOLUTION
A ton of fun
Serious craft meets silly subject
Not much wearability or accessibility
A bit gimmicky
The runway show marked exciting new territory for Area. The collection introduced the brands first foray into footwear by launching shoes through a licensing partnership with Giuseppe Zanotti, and which were available in a see-now-buy-now format.
THE WRAP UP
Area has quickly made a name for itself by always reminding us to expect the unexpected, fusing a sometimes couture-like level of craft imagination with a delightfully over-the-top spirit. As the brand reminds us, fashion should be fun. But here they have impressively been able to have lots of fun while prompting an uncanny look deeper, again confirming Pansczcyk and company as one of New York’s most exciting young fashion forces.