Working It: Supermodels and Superstars Remember Patrick Kelly
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Photograph by Oliviero Toscani / © Patrick Kelly Estate / Image Randy Dodson, courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
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.”
No registration is required. Free online event.