In a dazzling culmination of the ongoing love affair between fashion and visual art, Paris Fashion Week unveiled an exciting fusion of haute couture and sculptural masterpieces. This year’s Paris Fashion Week has shown us that the relationship between these two creative realms is evolving beyond clothing inspired by art to full-blown art exhibitions on the runway.
Lynda Benglis’s Bronze Extravaganza
Renowned artist Lynda Benglis, whose iconic poured latex sculptures grace the collections of museums worldwide, took the spotlight at Loewe’s runway show on September 29. Benglis, known for her process-driven works dating back to the ’60s, secured a significant place in feminist art history with her groundbreaking 1974 Artforum ad featuring her boldly posing with a dildo against her nude body.
At Loewe’s Spring/Summer ’24 show, attended by none other than Vogue’s global editorial director, Anna Wintour, Benglis’s distinctive clay sculptures and jewelry adorned crisp, flowing capes and high-waisted trousers.
Otherworldly Atmosphere that Captivated Onlookers.
Elongated, swirling sculptures hung in mid-air, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that captivated onlookers. Among the pieces showcased were “Black Widow” (2021) and “Yellow Tail” (2020). According to curator Andrew Bonacina, who managed the Benglis presentation for Loewe, some of these sculptures in the works for several years.
Bonacina explained, “To create the original forms, she pushes the clay through an extruder to produce soft lengths, which she then twists to shape the piece. The enlargements vividly display all of her manipulations, revealing her fingerprints and the torn edges of the clay. She has an enduring fascination with the capabilities of materials, and her works bear witness to the intricate process.”
Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Woven Wonders
Meanwhile, at Alexander McQueen’s show, the runway grace by woven sculptures created by the late 20th-century artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. This spectacular presentation closely followed a retrospective of Abakanowicz’s work at the Tate Modern and is set to journey to the Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo later this month.
Abakanowicz’s soft sculptures hung like celestial discs in a dimly lit room, exuding an aura of enigma and distance. Overseeing the installation Mary Jane Jacob, co-director of the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation.
Among the mesmerizing sculptures on display “Abakan—Situation Variable” (1970-71), a towering 13-foot masterpiece that not showcase for half a century until its debut at the Tate. Another highlight “Abakan Violet” (1969), which, until now, had never exhibit beyond the borders of the United States.
This year’s Paris Fashion Week has reaffirmed that the relationship between fashion and art is thriving, allowing both worlds to inspire and elevate each other in unexpected and delightful ways. The runway has transformed into a canvas where masterful creations, be they clothing or sculpture, converge to create a sensory and artistic spectacle like no other.