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October 23, 2021April 24, 2022

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love

This exhibition celebrates the career and legacy of African American fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–1990). First presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, the exhibition presents eighty fully accessorized ensembles, dating from 1984 to 1990, from the Philadelphia Museum’s archive of Kelly’s work. Kelly drew upon his childhood in the United States South, his African American heritage, his experiences in the club and gay cultural scenes in New York and Paris, and muses from fashion, art, and Black history to create light-hearted yet sophisticated designs that pushed racial and cultural boundaries. The exhibition situates Kelly and his work in the broader context of art and fashion history by exploring the inspirations behind his designs, his significant collection of Black memorabilia, and footage from his exuberant and groundbreaking fashion shows.

Image: Woman’s Ensemble: Coat and Dress, fall/winter 1986; Woman’s Dress, fall/winter 1986; Woman’s Dress, fall/winter 1988; by Patrick Kelly Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Bjorn Guil Amelan and Bill T. Jones in honor of Monica Brown, 2015, 2015-201-29a,b, 2015-201-124, 2014-207-11. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art