Fashion Designer Patrick Kelly Celebrated In New PEM Exhibition

SALEM (WBZNewsRadio) - A new exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum transports visitors into the world of fashion designer Patrick Kelly.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love celebrates Kelly's career from his childhood upbringing in the American South to his days in the New York and Paris club scenes. His designs pushed racial and cultural boundaries through expressions of love and joy.

"For anyone who loves fashion you want to run here." Petra Slinkard, Director of Curatorial Affairs at PEM said. "It's a great exhibition and it's a great story of a fashion designer who is not a household name, but should be."

Slinkard said the discussion of race, racism and queerphobia shines through his collection.

"He would put his friends in these dresses and they would walk around the streets of Paris and of course people would stop them and say 'Oh my god you look amazing, what are you wearing, who are you wearing?'" Slinkard told WBZ's Brooke McCarthy.

Kelly's bright and colorful career was cut short in 1990, when the 35 year old died from complications related to AIDS.

The exhibition was first presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014 and revised for presentation at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. The exhibition contains more than 75 fully accessorized runway ensembles dating from 1984 to 1989.

The exhibition is on view at PEM through Nov. 6.

WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports

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