Area’s anatomy of an eye

Creative director Piotrek Panszczyk tests our vision this season with a sparkly collection full of occular allusion

For Area’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, the ophthalmologist is in. Creative director Piotrek Panszczyk took inspiration from the eye, a theme that sees itself (pun intended) in the collection’s many cartoon peepers and the ocular allusions throughout. Inspired by ’60s pop art graphics, a googly eye becomes a polkadot becomes a dalmatian spot becomes a crystal eyelet whose pupil is a giant rhinestone instead of a black dot.

The runway “explored the dynamics of essentials and the extraordinary,” per a press release, with larger-than-life prints, and somehow, even larger crystals. A dress made entirely out of plastic flat back craft-store eyes, along with its face-concealing headpiece, becomes a hooded, floor-length coat patterned like a snow leopard’s pelt. The black and white spots become oversized bejeweled belts, necklaces, and glittering épée masks, with branded denim separates and white wife beaters sporting Area logos on their boat-neck collars. Toward the end of the collection, the eyes dilate to form tailored holes in black and corally pink garments, some sporting mod-era-looking cartoon flowers with crystal centers, others with petal-like fabric fringe sewn around the openings.

From its invitations that came in the form of branded eye drops, to journalist Alexandra Hildreth’s tweet on the mysterious case of googly eyes being carted into Ludlow House, Area runs a comprehensive vision test on the concept of viewership: “unveiling a world of new perspectives shared by the crucial role of our audience. A play between viewing and being viewed,” as read the show notes.