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July 31 2014

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3 posts tagged "Beckett Fogg"

Area Pops Up on Kenmare

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Area

Emerging label Area is moving full steam ahead. Since we last checked in with designers Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg this past March, the pair’s embossed velvet, mohair, and Lurex debut Fall ’14 collection has been requested by mega-stylists (like Marie-Amélie Sauvé), shot by some major magazines, and is slowly but surely attracting retailers’ attention. But the duo wants to bring their vision to the public here and now, so they’ve created an accessible capsule collection, which will be sold in a pop-up shop in Nolita. Bowing this Saturday at 52 Kenmare Street (“we specifically timed it for the weekend before Memorial Day,” explained Fogg), the store will house shorts, tote bags, T-shirts, and tanks, all of which will feature the house’s signature braille-like texture. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that these are no ordinary basics—the pieces, offered in white, light gray, and charcoal, have a unique grain thanks to the embossing and perforation method, which the designers stumbled upon almost by accident. “We use the same process in our mainline, and one of the ‘flaws’ that comes along with it is that if you really jack up the heat and the pressure, the plate will punch through the garment. The people we work with are always horrified when it happens, and we constantly have to tell them, ‘No, we want it that way!’” laughed Fogg.

Area

The technique also causes the wares to morph and evolve as you wear them. For instance, if you send the styles to the dry cleaner, the material will turn into an irregular jersey mesh. If you get the fabric wet, the texture will soften. The designers note that you can even iron out the indentations to make irregular patterns. “This isn’t meant to be a very precious garment that makes you freak out when something happens to it,” stressed Fogg. “We actually have a timeline on our website, where you can see the textures up close, and how they will change. Basically, with these designs, we’ve sped up the process of wearing out your tee for you.”

Considering the designers’ mainline is priced between $600 and $1,600, the capsule is a steal, with each piece coming in at less than $100. That being said, if you’re in the mood to invest in these young talents’ work, you can see their Fall ’14 collection on a-r-e-a.com and place a private order. Have a browse—you won’t regret it.

Area’s pop-up shop is located at 52 Kenmare Street, New York, New York, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18. The brand’s capsule collection is also available online at a-r-e-a.com/shop

Photos: Benedict Brink

Area Enters the Market

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Area

It takes a lot of balls to leave a gig at Calvin Klein Collection to start your own brand—especially when you’re a 25-year-old fresh out of grad school. But that’s precisely what Beckett Fogg, one half of new line Area, did. And if the innovative first collection that she and design partner Piotrek Panszczyk whipped up is any indication, she made the right move.

Fogg, a Kentucky native, and Panszczyk, a Polish-born 28-year-old who previously worked at Chloé, met at Parsons the New School for Design while pursuing their MFAs in fashion. “We started talking about teaming up a year before I graduated, but it was really just for LOLs,” offered Panszczyk. However, a pair of ribbon-trimmed shorts he stitched up, which, worn by Fogg, got rave reviews in the Hamptons, pushed the designers to make their pipe dream a reality. “Every single person was like, ‘I have to have them!’ So we thought, Maybe this is something we should actually consider doing,” recalled Fogg.

While their backgrounds differ drastically (Panszczyk is a die-hard fashion head, while Fogg studied architecture before heading to Parsons), the talents share a unique, unified vision. Inspired by fragments, transformation, and mind-boggling experiments with texture, their debut lineup expands upon unexpected techniques we saw in each of their graduate collections. For instance, while at Parsons, Fogg used a method of embossing that’s usually reserved for car interiors. Area employed it to bring new dimension to the sleeves of a metallic silver velvet tunic, the body of a handsome steel coat, and the skirt of a burgundy silk lamé slipdress. Meanwhile, the studied pleating Panszczyk featured in his graduate outing provided a sculptural edge to creased trousers and elegant coats.

Area

Most interesting, however, is the pair’s obsession with textiles. The designers worked a heavy mohair—typically reserved for luxury upholstery—into an easy gray shift (above), which was made all the more special via organic patterns created by shaving. Another standout was their stonewashed velvet denim. “It didn’t exist,” said Panszczyk, pulling at a shearling-lined jacket, “so we just made it up!”

Walking me through their sundrenched, whitewashed Canal Street studio, Panszczyk in a frayed Jil Sander suit, Fogg in her own designs, the duo discussed their simultaneously cerebral, sexy, and commercial aesthetic. “We want to see people actually wearing our clothes,” said Fogg. “So I don’t think commercial needs to be a dirty word.” Panszczyk elaborated, explaining how a second-skin velvet jumpsuit (shown with leather chaps) or fluid shift could be sultry one moment and sophisticated the next. “Our work specifically focuses on manipulation. We like to take something and change it.”

As for why they named the brand Area, Fogg told me, “It’s clean, simple, and inclusive.” Never mind that the iconic nightclub was once housed mere blocks from their studio—a fact they didn’t learn until a few friends of a certain age clued them in. “It’s all about serendipity,” mused Panszczyk.

Photo: Courtesy of Area

Parsons: The New Class

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“As a designer, I am blown away,” said Donna Karan last night, after making the rounds at “The First Eighteen,” a showcase of work by the inaugural group of 18 students (ages 24 to 31) in Parsons’ graduate MFA program in fashion design and society. “The sophistication, the understanding, the ability to hold a collection together, it is so telling,” she explained. Karan, a Parsons alumna, was joined at the school by co-host Joanna Coles, Simon Collins, the dean of the School of Fashion, Shelley Fox, the mastermind behind the MFA program, and designers Victoria Bartlett, Chris Benz, and Gabi Asfour of threeasfour, in toasting the student designs, all of which had been year-long projects.

The work by Beckett Fogg and Sinead Lawlor, in particular, garnered especially positive reactions from the crowd. Fogg’s monochromatic black and white womenswear pieces were clean-cut, but finished with luxe embossed leather touches. Lawlor went a completely different route, showing a range of bright blue, red, and yellow womenswear separates done in an explosive button print that was bold, yet equally wearable (pictured). There were also a handful of students that went for a more avant-garde aesthetic, showing conceptual designs that, according to Collins, “should be shown at the Met right now” (referring to the recently opened Schiaparelli/Prada exhibit currently on display at the museum). By the end of the night, it was no secret that Karan, who has been focused on her Urban Zen project in Haiti, had acquired some favorites and perhaps some plans for those students’ futures. “There are three that I really love,” she said. “I would like to get their hands in Haiti, you have no idea.”

“The First Eighteen” is on view daily at 1359 Broadway, New York, through May 23.