Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, US
The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents an exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of the late fashion designer Patrick Kelly, whose meteoric rise in fashion remains unprecedented and unmatched today. Rooted in expressions of love and joy and inspired by his experiences growing up in the American South, Kelly’s fearless yet lighthearted designs pushed racial and cultural boundaries. First presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, and reconstituted for presentation at the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2021, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love is on view at PEM from June 25 through November 6, 2022.
Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1954, Kelly was primarily self-taught and drew inspiration from his Black heritage, his days in the New York and Paris club scenes and his personal muses. Drawn from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition – which features footage from the designer’s exuberant and groundbreaking fashion shows and over 75 fully accessorized runway ensembles created between 1984 and 1989 – situates the artist and his work in the broader context of fashion history by exploring the provocative objects and lived experiences that inspired his clothing. Patrick Kelly’s promising career was cut short by his premature death from complications related to AIDS on January 1, 1990.