Patrick Kelly Red Heart Dress Detail, Fall/Winter 1986-1987. Measures 5 x 7 in.
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love celebrates the career and legacy of Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–1990). First presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014, the exhibition presents seventy-nine fully accessorized ensembles, dating from 1984 to 1990, from the Philadelphia Museum’s archive of Kelly’s work, to new acquisitions from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s costume collection. Kelly drew upon memories of his childhood in the United States South, his Black heritage, his experiences in the club and gay cultural scenes in New York and Paris, and muses from fashion, art, and Black histories to create light-hearted yet sophisticated designs that pushed racial and cultural boundaries. The exhibition situates Kelly and his work in the broader context of these histories by exploring the inspirations behind his designs, his significant collection of racist memorabilia (whose images he wrested to tell his own story of being Black in the world), and footage from his exuberant and groundbreaking fashion shows.