I was invited to the pre-opening of the new exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love.
The exhibit celebrates the career of Patrick Kelly , born in Vicksburg Mississippi in 1954 in the height of the Jim Crow era where segregation was written into law.
He drew a lot of his inspiration from his growing up in the south. His love of fashion came from his mother and grandmother. He later went to Jackson State University and then Parsons School of Design. In 1979 he moved to Paris.
Kelly had limited pattern making skills and was financially strapped. Using a borrowed sewing machine he would make coats with a single seam and dresses with raw edges. He sold his coats on a street corner while his model friends would walk the streets in his dresses and tell everyone about this new amazing designer who just came to Paris.
Kelly's designs are playful, full of love and definitely joy.
He was the first American to be admitted to the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode, the prestigious governing body of the French ready-to-wear industry.
I'm starting with my favorite dress from the exhibit. A black evening dress with a heart hand sewn on the front and back with what looks to be a yarn and free form. The yarn is left hanging off the hearts as though they were still being sewn or left unfinished. I found it beautifully moving.
Patrick Kelly past away from complications of Aids in 1990
Many of Kelly's designs are instantly recognizable because of his iconic use of buttons and bows.
Patrick Kelly was featured in many of his ad's with his models. The models always looked like they were having fun.
Peabody Essex Museum has an excellent fashion department. It's located in Salem Massachusetts. I truly enjoyed this exhibit.