Artist K8 Hardy Returns To Dallas, Converts Runway Into Living Sculpture

Fort Worth native/New York transplant, K8 Hardy isn't a stranger to fashion. She's written zines on the topic and has worked as a stylist, but neither of those touchstones will inspire her runway show, scheduled for October 4 at the Dallas Contemporary. This catwalk is a vehicle for performance art.

Hardy got a lot of buzz in May when she presented as part of the Whitney Biennial. Taking over the fourth floor gallery space, Paris-inhabiting artist Oscar Tuazon created a modular, site-specific runway which formed a scaffold-like series of obstacles, luring the models up and down boxy stairways. One gal even fell. Hairstylist Duffy, whose work has been used by Armani, German Vogue and dozens of other haute brands and publications, went to town on the weaves. He stretched them, lengthened them and formed them into artfully cresting structures. Other do's were molded floppier, like cotton candy that had been manhandled. Hardy designed the sculptures themselves, turning models into walking pieces of temporary art.

Using a combination of ready-mades and self-assembled items -- like a dress composed entirely of padded bras, sewn into a drapey, colorful avalanche of exterior wear -- Hardy created an non-fashion fashion show. Rather than designing a clothing collection intended for use, sale, or envy, she toyed with visual effects of the models and items as something else altogether. Some women wore shirts with neon bullet holes painted on as nipples, which dripped down the garment's fronts. All wore oompa-loompa orange pan stick on their faces, with a perfect foundation line left just above the chin. Models walked backwards. Sideways. In slow motion.

What interested me most about the production, was that while Hardy removed the fashion from this affair and laced it with a message reflecting her own feminist ideals, the end result was still oddly lovely. Cohesive. Fucked up and beautiful. I can't wait to see it here, on Dallas soil.

Hardy will have a collection of her photography up at the Dallas Contemporary beginning September 22, which will be available to the public until December 23. K8 Hardy's unrunway show is a performance aspect of Legendary, a fundraiser for the institution scheduled for Thursday, October 4. Tickets for that will run you between $125 and $150.

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