“I want my clothes to make you smile!”—Patrick Kelly
Patrick Kelly (1954–1990) was known for his bold, bright, and joyful fashion creations that resonated in the streets and nightclubs and on the runways of New York, Paris, and beyond. The first American and the first Black designer to be admitted to the governing body of the French fashion industry, Kelly boasted celebrity couture clients including Madonna, Cicely Tyson, and Gloria Steinem. His designs are distinguished by a combination of playful aesthetics and a willingness to brazenly foreground race and heritage and push cultural boundaries, including racial tropes like golliwogs, or Black baby dolls.
Generously illustrated with hundreds of images of runway photography, garments on mannequins, and never-before-published archival materials, this book is an unprecedented exploration of Kelly’s influential career, which was tragically cut short by complications from AIDS. More than 80 of Kelly’s most beloved works are featured alongside thoughtful essays focusing on his work in relationship to French fashion, Queer identity, Black identity, and his exuberant runway shows. Also featured is a detailed timeline decorated with archival photographs and drawings, making this volume the definitive resource on Kelly’s life and work.
About the Author
Laura L. Camerlengo is associate curator of costume and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.