AREA Goes Punk Fetish for Its Return to the Runway

AREA Goes Punk Fetish for Its Return to the Runway

Story by Mario Abad / Photography by Mich Cardin

It's been over two years since AREA last showed on the runway. And while the brand has been keeping busy with special couture collections and dazzling lookbooks, seeing it come to life on the catwalk just hits different.

Designer Piotrek Panszczyk chose the elegant art museum Frick Madison for his runway return, which featured special guests like Saucy Santana and Christine Quinn in the front row dressed to the nines in sparkly and encrusted AREA confections.

The see-now-buy-now collection (the brand pivoted to an in-season model post-pandemic) had the obvious AREA elements — signature embellishments, Swarovski crystals, sculptural dresses — with some unexpected touches like a new folded pyramid motif, jumbo spikes and bondage bows.

It wasn't all in-your-face punk fetish, as AREA's feminine silhouettes reminded us. "We wanted to contrast the extremes of BDSM and fetish with the classic femininity of bows," said Panszczyk.

In classic AREA form, the techniques were complex and intricate. Cagelike corset structures were developed into metal ribbons encrusted with rhinestones that wrap around the body which were then translated into opulent airbrushed headpieces made from rainbow ombré crystal in celebration of queerness.

Indeed, while this would've been equally impactful through a lookbook, seeing those large spiked getups and pyramid motifs in motion felt like a proper way to introduce this new fetish punk spirit at NYFW.

Photography: Mich Cardin