Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrating Designer Patrick Kelly

Fashion is celebrated this spring at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the retrospective Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, which explores the meteoric rise and remarkable achievements of a 1980s legend whose clothing was worn by women of every age, from actress Bette Davis, late in her life, to singer Vanessa Williams, then in her twenties. This is the first exhibition to showcase the full scope of Kelly’s head-to-toe runway ensembles, and will include selections from the artist’s significant holdings of black memorabilia, videos of his exuberant fashion shows, and works by renowned photographers Horst P. Horst, Pierre et Gilles, and Oliviero Toscani.

An exhibition of whimsical streetwear by Gerlan Jeans complements Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love. Founded in 2009 by New York–based graphic artist and designer Gerlan Marcel (born 1976), Gerlan Jeans reinterprets Kelly’s signature bows, buttons, and other bold embellishments to create clothes that embody the dynamic spirit of a new generation. Gerlan Jeans  Patrick Kelly explores Kelly’s enduring relevance as he inspires a contemporary label whose vibrant sensibility is embraced by style and pop icons such as Beyoncé and Katy Perry.

StyleMayvin Contributor, Myra Hardy visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art to celebrate the Patrick Kelly exhibit during a recent press preview. Here is her account of the experience:

Patrick Kelly was one of the most talented and amazing designers of his time. Kelly’s work from head to toe encompassed the 80’s look to his collections. His creations were body-conscious dresses with vibrant colored buttons. Patrick Kelly was born in Mississippi and moved to Paris to embark on his fashion career. The exhibit displayed quite a bit of memorabilia from dolls to household trinkets. Kelly's aesthetic developed out of his African-American and southern roots of his fashion, art history, and the club cultural scenes in New York and Paris. His work pushed racial and cultural boundaries with golliwog logos, Aunt Jemima, Bandana dresses, and black baby doll brooches. Patrick Kelly's looks were inspired by his muse Josephine Baker as well as Coco Chanel, Madame Gres, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent.  Kelly's brilliant vision and career were cut short when he passed away on January 1, 1990. Kelly's Runway of Love Collection showcases over eighty ensembles that have been presented to museums as a promised gift by Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Guil Amelan, and Bill T. Jones. It is a must see collection and a part of iconic fashion history.

Now, go check it out for yourself! The Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Gerlan Jeans Patrick Kelly exhibits are both available for viewing from April 27-November 30. For more information visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


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