Well the Missus and I trundled up to Salem yesterday to catch the Patrick Kelly exhibit (through November 6) at the Peabody Essex Museum and say, it was swellegant.
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love celebrates the career and legacy of fashion designer Patrick Kelly (born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1954–1990). Based in Paris from 1979, Kelly was primarily self-taught and fearlessly drew inspiration from his experiences growing up in the American South, his Black heritage, his days in the New York and Paris club scenes, and his personal muses. His light-hearted and sophisticated designs pushed racial and cultural boundaries, asserted Black empowerment, and were rooted in expressions of love and joy.
Joy was the through-line for Patrick Kelly’s fashion line, as these representative samples nicely illustrate.
Kelly channeled everyone from Chanel to Schiaparelli to St. Laurent to the legendary Madame Grès and yet, as the Missus – who knows about these things – noted, his designs from the 1980s all look so current. It’s really quite remarkable.
As was Patrick Kelly’s life, vividly documented in this film from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Patrick Kelly’s story is sweet, stylish, and in the end, exceedingly sad.
Also, well worth a trundle up to Salem to experience.