Runway of Love
Gerlan Jeans ♥
Fashion is celebrated this spring at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the retrospective Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, which explores the meteoric rise and remarkable achievements of a 1980's legend whose clothing was worn by women of every age, from actress Bette Davis, late in her life, to singer Vanessa Williams, then in her twenties. This is the first exhibition to showcase the full scope of Kelly’s head-to-toe runway ensembles, and will include selections from the artist’s significant holdings of black memorabilia, videos of his exuberant fashion shows, and works by renowned photographers Horst P. Horst, Pierre et Gilles, and Oliviero Toscani.
An exhibition of whimsical streetwear by Gerlan Jeans complements Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love. Founded in 2009 by New York–based graphic artist and designer Gerlan Marcel (born 1976), Gerlan Jeans reinterprets Kelly’s signature bows, buttons, and other bold embellishments to create clothes that embody the dynamic spirit of a new generation. Gerlan Jeans ♥ Patrick Kelly explores Kelly’s enduring relevance as he inspires a contemporary label whose vibrant sensibility is embraced by style and pop icons such as Beyoncé and Katy Perry.
The exhibition is organized into six sections, beginning with Kelly’s 1983–84 collection for the Italian experimental design group Studio Invenzione and continuing through his final Fall/Winter 1989–90 collection. It opens with “Runway of Love,” highlighting the designer’s heart-shaped embellishments to his clothing, often composed from his signature buttons. As a child growing up in Mississippi, Kelly would often lose his buttons, which his grandmother replaced with those of many different colors, a look that Kelly later adapted for his fashion designs.
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