“Instead of dividing us with gold & jewels, he unified us with buttons & bows.”

Lee Heidhues 10.22.2021

Liz and I cycled along Car Free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to the de Young Museum on Member Preview Day to view the stunning Patrick Kelly fashion exhibit titled Runway of Love.

His work is both a fashion statement and a political commentary on the racism felt by black people in America

Patrick Kelly was  born in Vicksburg, Mississippi  in 1954. He perfected his art in America and emigrated to Paris as a young man. He discovered himself and was discovered by the European fashionistas where he became a celebrity in his adopted country.
His potential was cut short when he was diagnosed with AIDS in August 1989 and died four months later on January 1, 1990. Patrick Kelly left an impressive fashion legacy.
His friend and client Gloria Steinem spoke at his memorial service in Paris saying, “Instead of dividing us with gold and jewels, he unified us with buttons and bows.”
Following are photos of Patrick Kelly’s fashion creations taken by Liz and me.



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Patrick Kelly with his creations

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Topped by the Eiffel Tower
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A patron goes to the heart of the art
A long view of the Patrick Kelly exhibit gallery

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Patrick Kelly ETE 89, Astro Lisa, Las Vegas Lisa, Baker Lisa, Muscle Lisa and Mississippi Lisa – Invitation to a 1989 Louvre, Paris showing of Patrick Kelly’s ready to wear fashion.
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Skirt made of glossy bananas – A tribute to Black American performer Josephine Baker
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Patrick Kelly’s dress of the golliwog doll appropriated American and European racial stereotypes

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Patrick Kelly incorporated racial stereotypes such as exaggerated lips

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