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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

Patrick Kelly is remembered for his exuberant and inclusive runway shows, which were enriched and enlivened by the work of leading Black fashion models. Join us for a rich conversation that explores Kelly’s unique runway presentations, with insights from Audrey Smaltz, legendary fashion show producer and Patrick Kelly runway show coordinator, Sharon "Magic" Jordan-Roach, model and Patrick Kelly fit model and muse, and Pat Cleveland, superstar. The panel is moderated by André Leon Talley, a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the former creative director at Vogue magazine.
This program is in support of the exhibition, Patrick Kelly: Runway of LoveThis event is part of Virtual Wednesdays, a weekly YouTube broadcast bringing you unique viewpoints exploring diversity, resilience, and creative spirit in the arts as we aim to reframe our exhibitions and collections. View upcoming Virtual Wednesdays programs.

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.”

Ticket Information

No registration is required. Free online event. 

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Contact Information

Public Programs
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