Area’s RTW 04 Collection is a Feat of Complements

With Restricted Softness, the brand builds upon its vocabulary of elegance and fun, introducing new layers of bold sensuality.

Hanging in between the balance of playful and sleek, glamorous and refined Area creates an intimate reality of Restricted Softness with their ready-to-wear 04 collection.

Shot by Italian photographer Zoe Natale Manella, the campaign references all of Area’s signature spiritedness, building upon previous collections with newfound confidence and charisma. It is still, for the New York-based team, all about bright colors, dramatic silhouettes, bold cut-outs, sharp lines and, of course, the label’s iconic, intricate crystal work. 

With the new collection, however, Area transcends the whispers of sensuality they’ve been hinting at, allowing their designs to culminate to a shout of confidence, a worship of the body, a feat of movement. In a crystal bra, a cropped tweed skirt suit, an oversized puffer vest, Area celebrates exaggeration and overstatement, bringing hyperbole to softness, sensuality to restriction.


Image courtesy of Area


“This season, as lockdowns and regulations began lifting around the world, we wanted to explore the contrast and similarities between restriction and softness,” said designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszcyzk. 

The study of the history of corsetry was key to the design of Restricted Softness; in bold shades of lavender, black and denim, the collection recalls corsetry as “a reclamation of femininity and confidence,” emphasizing Area’s use of “vegan leather and stretch bonded suiting.” Similar references to lingerie lace the collection, in a negligee dress, crystal cup-chain thong panty and balconette bra.

The designers connected remotely with Chinese designer Dingyun Zhang in pursuit of their exploration of softness, collaborating on luxe outerwear giving the collection an underscoring of extravagant luxury that contrasts Area’s crystal work with Dingyun’s XXL down puffers. The result: a jacket and vest, leading into a “puffer bra and skirt trimmed with baroque and lattice motifs,” allowing Area to, once again, subvert expectations and turn tradition on its side.


Image courtesy of Area


In their RTW 03 collection, Area brought play to professionalism, adorning boxy blazers with crystal embellishments and heart cut-outs in the chest, producing them in hot pink plaid to ensure the wearer would be the star of their Zoom meeting. With RTW 04, the label builds upon their tendency to make conservative styles nontraditional, creating a new playbook for the office wardrobe.

“Cropped blazer-skirt sets are realized in a multi/jade colored Italian tweed, and traditional black and white houndstooth is re-rendered in our signature heart motif,” said the designers. “The novelty suitings are finished with hand-embroidered crystal fringe, creating the illusion of frayed edges.” 

Intrinsic to the brand, cuts, shapes and fabrics are done to the extreme; a cropped blazer is not a cropped blazer, but a micro piece of outerwear; a puffer is not a puffer, but an oversized vest with a collar skimming the jawline, adorned with crystal detail; and knitwear is not knitwear, but ultra-soft, distressed fabric, lilac and black dotted with crystal bows and pearl embellishments.


Image courtesy of Area


The campaign, styled by London-based Danielle Emerson, seamlessly combines Manella’s visualization of restriction and softness with Area’s construction of a collection of contrasts: black and white, green and purple, crystal and knit, oversized and overexposed. Restricted Softness—not quite an oxymoron, but almost. Instead, complements. 

View the full RTW 04 collection here.

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