Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love

On view June 25, 2022 to November 6, 2022

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love celebrates the career and legacy of fashion designer Patrick Kelly (born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1954–1990). Primarily self-taught, Kelly fearlessly drew inspiration from his lived experiences in the American South, his African American 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. The exhibition, drawn from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, situates Kelly and his work in the broader context of art and fashion history by exploring the stimuli behind his designs, his significant collection of racist memorabilia (images of which he wrested to tell his own story), and footage from his exuberant and groundbreaking fashion shows.

First presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, and reconstituted by the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2021, the exhibition presents over seventy-five fully accessorized runway ensembles, dating from 1984 to 1990.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love is/was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

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The exhibition is made possible by the generosity of Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation, Angus and Leslie Littlejohn, and Susan and Appy Chandler. Additional support was provided by individuals who support the Exhibition Incubation Fund: Jennifer and Andrew Borggaard, James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes, Kate and Ford O'Neil, and Henry and Callie Brauer. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Follow along on social media using #PatrickKelly and #RunwayofLove.

TOP IMAGE: Patrick Kelly, Woman’s Ensemble: Coat and Dress, Fall/Winter 1986; Woman’s Dress, Fall/Winter 1986; Woman’s Dress, Fall/Winter 1988. 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.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love
Exhibition Catalogue Available Now

Patrick Kelly Runway of Love

Generously illustrated with hundreds of images of runway photography, garments on mannequins, and never-before-published archival materials, this book is an unprecedented exploration of Patrick Kelly’s influential career. Visit the Museum Shop in person or online.

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