words by Hannah Atira

All eyes were literally on Area this season as the eye catching brand found their new muse for their ever grandiose themed collections. As the audience came to a silence at the newly appointed Starrett-Lehigh venue along the city’s west side the sounds of cartoon whirls, pops and boings began to fill the space. Opening up the runway, a pair of Bugs Bunny-esque eyes transformed into the bodice of a dress, set the tone for what was to follow.

Inspired by cartoon eyes, this season Area took the idea of an animated eye and morphed it into new forms. In some instances the shape of the eye was reimagined as a repetitive pattern used for structured pieces including a white leather jacket paired with matching skirt and baclava. While in other cases a grouping of google eyes extruding from the garment were utilized to form the silhouette of a mini skirt and shift dress. Seeming to play with the metaphor of to see and being seen, a few pieces emphasized the idea of an eye as a window; through circular cutouts in the garments exposing aspects of the wearer. Seen most noticeably was in a black floor length dress utilizing the circular outline of an eye and a filled in iris to serve as the bra cups in the design.

While the literal inspiration of cartoon eyes were applied, what was further strongly explored in the collection was the aesthetic of the era’s from which such characters derive. A resurgence for modern times of the shift dress found a slightly sleeker silhouette in multiple iterations along the runway including leather and denim. While 60s pop art inspired floral motifs, adorned a long sleeve gown and pops of blooming flowers extruded from a black scrunched waist skirt and carry all bags.

A staple of the brand’s identity, the denim looks this season also explored the eye utilizing both cut outs and crystal eyelets to their advantages. A cropped denim set including jacket, pants and baklava implemented the eye shaped pattern in the head piece while a long sleeve button down and pants set strategically implemented the eye and iris cut outs. Taking the denim aspect a step further was a uniquely crafted dalmatian printed denim. Appearing in both a quite editorial hooded floor length cape, while also appearing in a more ready to wear corset and pants set. If looked at quite closely the dalmatian denim could even be seen to mimic small beady eyes.