Sunday, November 9, 2014

Patrick Kelly at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Buttons, Bows and Boas!
This past weekend we travelled to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to meet some friends and to see the Patrick Kelly show. If you could bottle and drink it, you would be inspired for the rest of your life. That is if you, like me, are passionate about color, imagination and frantically fun fashion.
The lobby of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
 The Patrick Kelly show is in the Perelman Building,
across the street from the main PMA.
 This used to be the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co.
where I worked for 11 years.
Some kind of justice that it now holds great fashion.
Take that, you gray ghosts.
 Patrick Kelly was an African-American designer who used his
Mississippi roots for inspiration,
along with knowledge of fashion greats like
Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent.
 There are 80 ensembles in this show, and thank you
PMA, for letting us take photos.
Kelly worked in New York and Paris in the
urban milieu of the 1980s.
 Bold color was paramount -- which was so
beautifully showcased on a woman's body with
graceful draping.
 Details like this over-sized,
collaged bangle, intrigued me.
 Lucky for us that Patrick's business and life partner,
Bjorn Guil Amelan, and Bill T. Jones,
donated these ensembles to the museum.
Large buttons adorn the dresses
in the most playful way.
"I want my clothes 
to make you smile"
said Kelly.
 How a bride should look.
Kelly used iconic symbols like this valentine-box hat,
and the lips below, to great effect.

 Kelly moved to Paris in 1979. 
 In 1988, he was the first American and the first black designer
to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter
des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.
 Note to PMA.
Please reissue that tee-shirt!
 Kelly was also influenced by club and
gay culture scenes.

 He created his own take on "pretty"
fashion looks.
The satin ribbon is luscious.

Too me, this is pure Dior rose.
 Kelly's "uniform" of overalls.
 His golliwog logo.
The golliwog was a black character
in children's books in the late 19th century.
Kelly pushed racial and cultural boundaries
with his designs.
 Kelly at one of his runway shows.
Kelly exuded sheer energy and wit.
 Homage to his beloved Paris.
I met this lady at the show who was traveling around
the U.S. on Amtrak. We helped each other
take pictures.

 Love the orange, satin ribbon!!
 Ethnic basketry.
 Brick motif -- sheer genius.
 BIG buttons.

 Kelly's muse was Josephine Baker,
the great dancer who entertained Paris
with her banana-skirt dance.

 It was a huge loss to fashion
when Kelly died from Aids in 1990.

 Golliwog dress.
 Kelly's collection of black toys.

 This dress is smokin'.
The show continues to November 30.
More from our Philadelphia trip next time on
Femme et Fleur.

You can see a trailer for the show here.

À Bientôt!!


  1. I wish I could have seen this show - I love Kelly's use of colourful embellishments like the buttons and feathers, and the sleek, body-conscious dresses. The brick patterned body suit and denim jumper is so cool!

  2. Wow, a drink that offers infinite inspiration? Hook me up!

  3. Many thanks for a look at the show.
    Martha born in Mississippi loves Patrick Kelly!

  4. Nice post. I see what you mean. . .
    Patrick Kelly is new to me though - but the show looks so fun and inspiring. -He had a thing going on with buttons ;o)

  5. I see so many hats that I would love to transport to my hat room!