A Tony Matelli sculpture at the Maison Margiela Artisanal men's show.

REALITY CHECK: The Maison Margiela show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week may have started an hour late, but guests found an entertaining way to while away the time: by checking out — and sometimes poking — the sculptures by Tony Matelli dotted around the space.

The American artist presented four works from his 2018 series “Garden,” consisting of imitations of classical marble statuary scattered with ripe fruit. The pieces of orange, mango and watermelon were so realistic, it came as a surprise to discover they were cast in bronze.

Matelli said it was the first time he had worked with a fashion house, though he didn’t know what creative director John Galliano would be showing for his first Artisanal men’s collection.

“I wouldn’t call it a collaboration, it’s more of a juxtaposition, let’s say, because they had no input on the works and they didn’t guide me in any way,” he explained. “I have no idea what John has made for the show, so it’s going to be really exciting.”

He noted they both shared an interest in deconstruction.

“Also I know the company is obsessed with the color white, and so the marble at least was at one point white, you know, so it has some basic formal connections in that regard that I think are kind of interesting. Plus, all of these sculptures are about fabric — they are kind of about fashion, in a sense,” he said.

A Tony Matelli sculpture at the Maison Margiela Artisanal men’s show.  Joelle Diderich

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