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July 25 2014

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3 posts tagged "Piotrek Panszczyk"

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

Top of the Class: Inside Parsons’ PH² Exhibition

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If you’ve been following our coverage of the Parsons/Kering competition, you’re well aware that college graduation is nigh. But it’s not just Parsons’ BFA students who are presenting their final collections. Tomorrow, the second graduating class from the school’s MFA Fashion Design and Society program will unveil their wares at PH², an exhibition whose opening will be cohosted by Diane von Furstenberg. Yesterday, professor Shelley Fox and the best of the eighteen graduates gave Style.com a first look at their progressive work. “What impressed me was their persistence not to give up, to experiment, and to push themselves in a way they didn’t know they were capable of,” said Fox of the graduates, who will reveal their complete lineups during a show at New York fashion week in September. This year, Fox put a particular emphasis on pushing the students to create their own fabrics. “That’s one way you can really define yourself and set yourself apart from other designers,” she said.

Several of the grads took this to the extreme, like knitwear designer Hannah Jenkinson (above, left). Hailing from the UK, the 29-year-old pulled inspiration from the minimal clothes of the Amish, Mennonites, and nuns, as well as athletic wear. “But really,” she notes, “the collection was driven by technique and process; by [exploring] the boundaries of what makes something knitwear.” Take, for instance, her transparent jumper, in which she trapped strands of white yarn between two layers of fusing material. Other looks were crafted from rubber or repurposed vintage pieces. Chunky laces—like the ones seen on her sheer track pants or feminine skirts, were painstakingly hand-embroidered. “Some of [the pieces] took eight days.”

Melitta Baumeister, a 27-year-old German designer, took a new-wave approach to fabrication (above, right). She would finish a fabric garment, make a mold, and then recast it in silicone or foam. The result was classic clothing—like a white oxford shirt, a bomber, or a lace dress—reinvented in what felt like rubber. The collection, she explained, has to do with “controlling the uncontrollable, materializing liquid, and preserving a moment of movement in the garment.” The digital age affected her designs as well. “Now, with things like Instagram, capturing an image of a moment or a memory is almost more important than the memory itself.” Continue Reading “Top of the Class: Inside Parsons’ PH² Exhibition” »