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Area NYC New yor fashion week aw16

Embracing blinged-out femininity with fake nails and furs

Area NYC took inspiration from Naomi Campbell and Sarah Jessica Parker to create an iridescent AW16 collection

Area NYC’s designs are truly multidimensional. Initially, their pieces catch your eye with their high-shine, glossy aesthetic consisting of colorful metallics, intricate rhinestone beading, and iridescent lamé. Then a closer inspection reveals an additional level of manipulation as their clothes feature embossing, a style of fabric manipulation which results in a raised texture, reminiscent of bubble wrap but on a much smaller scale.

On Thursday, Area NYC presented their AW16 collection at The Standard High Line with a pared-back set consisting of solely a rhinestone cage, a nod to their minimal yet simultaneously blinged-out collection. Below, the designer duo Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk behind the two-year-old label discuss the ideas and icons that inspired the looks.

What’s the story behind the name Area NYC? 

Beckett Fogg: Our name took a long time to develop. Our names are very different and we tried every combination but together they sounded so bad. We tried Ivo Fogg and tried our first names, last names, middle names and they all were so awkward. Also I can’t say his last name still! 

Piotrek Panszczyk: Then we started thinking about just words. We started thinking about collaborating and being in New York and surfaces. Everything had this link that it all happens on a surface in an area, a starting point. It felt kind of anonymous but also directional. When we started Googling it came up with all these equations, which felt kind of magical.

Describe the aesthetic for your new collection. 

Beckett Fogg: This season is all about hard-core femininity, and different ways it can be played out or interpreted. Whether is hard-core, fem, drag, or traditional.

Your set, accessories and clothing involved a lot of “bling”. How did you put your own spin on glitz? 

Piotrek Panszczyk: The idea of shimmer came from pictures we started collecting of girls who had just had a manicure, there was something really appealing about the nail art. So we contacted Swarovski, who collaborated with us to bring these finishing ideas into the collection, and we were able to incorporate them into the whole process to really complete the vision.

What type of woman did you envision when you designed this collection? 

Beckett Fogg: It wasn't really a specific woman, but more of an attitude. We had a lot of candid Getty images of Sarah Jessica Parker at random parties in New York, and other people on our board were Naomi Campbell, Prince, Nadja Auermann, Outkast and Christy Turlington.

Can you explain about your embossing technique?

Beckett Fogg: We’ve been doing embossing for a while now. For me it felt like such a cool and underdeveloped process. We go to the actual embossers, they are out in New Jersey and usually people don’t really go out there. Seeing the process, it made me realise there were so many opportunities that weren’t really being used which I think is rare in fashion because so much has been done. For us it’s a way to create a visual identity, it’s our stamp without putting our name on it. 

Piotrek Panszczyk: Next to our main collection we have a capsule collection of T-shirts. We started putting the folded T-shirts into the embossing machines and they come out like an embossed Hanes T-shirt. We cover it in protective wrapping to maintain the shape. We tried to evolve embossing as a whole, with a patent pending. If you fold the shirt the pattern comes positive and negative, it bunches in certain places — the possibilities with this technique are endless. Usually embossing is used for bags and car leather, they make fake crocodile leather and shoes for example. And then we started to show up with bags of fabric like, “Hey” and in the beginning they were so confused but now they really get it.

Unlike last season’s presentation you also featured menswear in this collection. What made you decide to create a collection for both genders? 

Beckett Fogg: Piotrek and I both try things on while designing, and so we have developed a lot of versatile silhouettes. It’s really how we dress, and how we work, so the men’s looks developed quite naturally alongside the women’s looks. It never really felt like a conscious decision, it was more of a natural development.

Who is the Area NYC muse? 

Piotrek Panszczyk: That’s a tough question. We are very different so there is always a dialogue about a different woman, we try to do things that are younger but also complement a lot of different body types. We’re always thinking what would our friends wear but also what would our moms wear. 

Beckett Fogg: There’s always sophistication but there’s always a dose of humour. Also it’s always sexy. It’s more about how your wear rather than what the item is. A lot of our pieces can be worn so many different ways. That’s kind of the point.