Area's brilliant performance of contrast and harmony for AW19

In the four years of Area, designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk have proved they’re worth as more than a one-hit wonder. The duo's AW19 collection might be their best yet, with graphic-print XXL cable knit ponchos, puffa gillets, off-the-shoulder, asymmetrical mini dresses, houndstooth, heavy-knit, structured leotards, smart-casual suit pants and fringed trousers.

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It's occasion wear with consideration: tasseled, long-sleeved body suits paired with classic black ankle boots and extravagant scarfs that double as entire outwear. Glitzy mini bags with coordinating and equally shiny socks is an updated addition to the bedazzled shoe we've seen at previous seasons. The leotard silhouette, though not new in its display, is the new Saturday night ensemble. The execution was a fun display of 60’s resurgence (or “a mutation of ’60s couture”, as Steff Yotka writes), where it’s all leg here.

Contrast and harmony was the theme of this weekends show which opened with smart monochrome separates like a houndstooth bodice jumpsuit that deconstructs into fringe trousers and a hooded oversized pea-coat with a funky flash of vibrant colour beneath.

Photo: Mitchell Sams for Vogue.com

Photo: Mitchell Sams for Vogue.com

Then came an enchanting display of texture and colour with tie-dye midi skirts and cropped capes, daring diamond and fringe-knit over-skirts with a matching diamond and wool bralette, and surreal reinterpretations of classic shapes and dimensions. At times it was difficult to extract the specific meaning behind each piece because there was no real anchor or plot to follow. The Area wearer could be Après skiing in Italy, roasting beside a fire in the bucolic countryside somewhere or dancing in a underground ballroom in Brooklyn. Maybe Areas chic adaptability is what makes it so attractive.

The multiculturalism that has been engrained into Areas design DNA is more present than ever; made apparent by the rich ethnic diversity walking in the show, and exotic, interlocking beaded dresses and jewellery whose designs are borrowed straight from mother Africa (and arguably the pièce de résistance of the evening). 

Photo: Mitchell Sams for Vogue.com

Photo: Mitchell Sams for Vogue.com

Their design trajectory has indeed changed course in just a few seasons, but they've never lost sight of their powerful female narrative.

Niamh O'Donoghue