Join us as we honor the life and legacy of Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly. This panel sheds light on Patrick Kelly’s fashion career with Dilys E. Blum, the Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Bjorn Guil Amelan, former business and life partner of Patrick Kelly, moderated by Laura L. Camerlengo, associate curator of costume and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
This panel is part of the opening day celebration of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love
. Opening day festivities will include family art making, prizes, a photo booth, and more.
About the Speakers
Bjorn G. Amelan was the life and business partner of the late fashion designer Patrick Kelly from 1983 until Mr. Kelly’s death on January 1, 1990. In 1993, Mr. Amelan moved to New York to begin his personal and professional relationship with director/choreographer Bill T. Jones whom he married in 2014. He has designed sets for numerous works of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Co. and is the recipient of a 2001 Bessie award for his designs of The Breathing Show and The Table Project. In 2011 Mr. Amelan helped Mr. Jones found New York Live Arts, an experimental body-based art center home to the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Co. He is New York Live Arts’ Creative Director. Mr. Amelan’s sculpture exhibition, Memory of a Stone, was shown in Santa Fe at Dwight Hackett Projects (2007). His paintings were exhibited at Gerald Peter’s Contemporary in 2018 and are currently on view at New York Live Arts’ Ford Gallery in New York City.
Dilys E. Blum is the Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and has been at the museum since 1987. She has organized more than forty exhibitions, from Black quilts to haute couture including the landmark Shocking: The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (2003) and most recently Off the Wall: American Art to Wear (2019). In 2014 she organized the original exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Blum has written extensively on textiles, historic costume, and fashion. She completed graduate studies at the University of Manchester and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
Laura L. Camerlengo is associate curator of costume and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Since 2010, she has curated or co-curated costume and textiles exhibitions for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She most recently co-curated the critically acclaimed exhibition Contemporary Muslim Fashions (2018). She is the author of The Miser’s Purse (2013) as well as a contributor to Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade (2017) and Contemporary Muslim Fashions (2018). She holds a master of arts in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons, the New School for Design/Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.
About the Exhibition
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love
celebrates the meteoric rise and enduring legacy of Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–1990). During his brief yet impactful career in the late 1980s, Kelly became the first American and first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, the prestigious French association for ready-to-wear designers. Kelly was lauded with such accolades while being and remaining, one of only a few designers who directly addressed issues of race in their work.
Patrick Kelly (1954–1990) was born and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His grandmother, a cook and maid, fostered a love of fashion by bringing him fashion magazines from the family for whom she worked. Kelly briefly studied art and history before moving to Paris in late 1979. In 1988, he became the first American and the first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, the French fashion industry association and standards organization for ready-to-wear designers. Kelly’s career was cut short by complications related to AIDS in 1990. The epitaph on his headstone in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, is emblematic of the designer and his legacy: “Nothing Is Impossible.”
Regardless of vaccination status, face coverings are required for staff and adult visitors at all times on museum premises (city-owned property). Masks may be temporarily removed for eating and drinking while seated in the museum or outdoors. Cleaning routines have been increased, and sanitizing stations are available throughout the de Young. Learn more about our rigorous health and safety measures
Seating is limited and unassigned. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis an hour before the lecture begins in front of the Koret Auditorium. This does not include admission to the exhibition.