Area’s Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk have undeniably climbed to the top of the It-Kid Fashion Pyramid, showcasing at New York Fashion Week an unparalleled ability to design clothes that transport both viewer and wearer elsewhere, to a place where fashion is still fun and theres some hope left for the dwindling NYFW lineup.

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Vogue reports that some, just some, of the inspirations for Area’s latest collection include: “Japanese tropical postcards they found in France, the pleating and draping of Madame Grès, leather costumes by Eiko Ishioka for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, interior design by the New York–based duo Myreality, and Romeo Gigli’s heart motifs.” But looking over their latest collection, you’d never believe a hundred sprawling reference points coalesced into something this cohesive and fresh. Heart silhouettes and broad hip proportions have undoubtedly replaced the voluminous sleeve as the next big trend, popping up throughout the show on both dresses and jackets.

The ethos of the collection is best represented in a massive metallic jacket, replete with hood and matching pants. Here you see Romeo Gigli’s heart motif come to life, which frequently appeared in the Italian designer’s skirt silhouettes and dress cutouts back in the ‘80s.

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The metallic is also a common, ever-exciting through line for Area’s collections. Similar metallic showed up in their most recent SS20 collection, as well as last year’s crystal encrusted FW19 collection, and the show that undoubtedly cemented their place in the new fashion pantheon, SS19.

Crystals also make a big comeback this season, an embellishment the house has experimented with in a big way since FW19's encrusted ponytails and face masks. In this latest collection, crystals are used to create dynamic meshes, woven bralets and necklines, and dangling fringe—another common design element for Area. Perhaps the most exciting addition to their ever-expanding use of crystals were trimmed holes and hemlines, which would normally be left raw (or finished with a contrast stitch) elsewhere at fashion week.

Illustration for article titled Area Built a Heart-Shaped Bridge to the Future at New York Fashion Week
Screenshot: Area (Area/Instagram)
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Fringe, hearts, and contrasting crystal hems also appeared in the collections accessories. I’m obsessed with the little hat-box bags, some trimmed with fringe, others shaped like metallic hearts. There’s even a bag that mimics the hole-y pants and mesh shirts. It’s an incredibly well executed statement piece, but I couldn’t tell if there was a lining inside. That could present a serious problem!

Regardless, Area continues to wow me as one of the most dynamic and fresh design voices at NYFW. The event has seen a noticeable slump in recent years, as designers like Tom Ford controversially ditch the ceremonies for sunnier prospects in Los Angeles. (Or opt out of runways completely!) I also have to hand it to the designers for their newly inked deal with the Africa Center, which has languished without funding in the Upper East Side for almost 10 years. Vogue reports that the deal hopes to “spotlight African culture and craft in the United States.” Considering Area used the venue to showcase the collection, and used techniques they learned from African artists to build the show, its important to see the house actually lift up those artisans rather than steal their techniques or patterns without credit. In thar regard, Area is not their contemporaries, and I imagine that in the years to come, more seasoned designers like Tom Ford will be struggling to keep up.

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(You can watch the full show below, courtesy of Diet Prada.)

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