Patrick Kelly: Vogue Patterns

April 29, 2014 § 6 Comments

Patrick Kelly AW1988 Toscani

Patrick Kelly Fall 1988 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Dazed Digital.

This past weekend, the exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Read WWD’s coverage here.) The show is the second Patrick Kelly retrospective since the designer’s death from AIDS in 1990. (The first was the Brooklyn Museum’s Patrick Kelly: A Retrospective in 2004.)

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) found success as an expatriate in Paris: he was the first American, and also the first black designer, to be elected to the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter. Much of Kelly’s work references his southern, African-American heritage through the use of vibrant colour, buttons and bows, and reappropriated black memorabilia motifs such as watermelons and golliwogs. (Patrick Kelly shopping bags emblazoned with his golliwog logo, as seen in the above photo, were deemed too controversial to be used in the United States.)

Embellished dresses from Patrick Kelly's Fall 1986 and Fall 1988 collections

Dresses from Patrick Kelly’s Fall 1986 and Fall 1988 collections. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Between 1988 and 1991, Vogue Patterns licensed Patrick Kelly designs, first in the Individualist line and later as Paris Originals. Here is a selection of Patrick Kelly sewing patterns, grouped by collection.

1. Patrick Kelly Spring/Summer 1988 prêt-à-porter

Vogue Patterns’ licensing began with Kelly’s Spring/Summer 1988 collection, his first under contract with Warnaco. This collection played with the culture and racial stereotypes of the American south. (Watch a YouTube video of the collection starting here.) Vogue 2077, the first of several Patrick Kelly patterns featuring African-American model Gail O’Neill, is a flamboyant peplum suit with back bow:

1980s Patrick Kelly peplum jacket and skirt - Vogue 2077

Vogue 2077 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

The suit seems to have made the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine:

Vogue Patterns magazine, Summer 1988

Vogue Patterns magazine, Summer 1988. Image via Flickr.

Vogue 2078 is a tiered, off-the-shoulder dress for stretch knits:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2078

Vogue 2078 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via Etsy.

More knit dresses from this collection can be seen in this photo by Oliviero Toscani, the photographer best known for his controversial Benetton ads:

Patrick Kelly SS1988 Toscani

Patrick Kelly Spring 1988 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

2. Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1988-89 prêt-à-porter

Variations on the heart motif characterized Kelly’s Fall 1988 collection, entitled More Love; the collection was later included in “Heart Strings,” a touring fundraiser for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). Vogue 2165 is a long-sleeved, colour-blocked dress with heart-shaped bodice:

1980s Patrick Kelly colour-blocked dress pattern - Vogue 2165

Vogue 2165 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via eBay.

A version with red contrast can be seen in Toscani’s ad campaign; the red bodice also appeared in the bridal look that closed the collection. Given the ‘love’ theme, it’s surprising that the red version was not photographed for the Vogue pattern:

Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1988 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani

Patrick Kelly Fall 1988 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art on tumblr.

Vogue 2304, a stretch-knit dress with Kelly’s trademark buttons applied in a rainbow triangle, is visible in the Toscani photo at the top of this post:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2304

Vogue 2304 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via Fashionista Fabrics.

3. Patrick Kelly Spring/Summer 1989 prêt-à-porter

Having just been elected to the Chambre syndicale in June 1988, Kelly showed a Mona Lisa-themed collection for Spring 1989 in the courtyard of the Louvre. Vogue 2286 is a pattern for a full skirt, wide-legged pants, and a double-breasted top with notched shawl collar:

1980s Patrick Kelly top, skirt, and pants pattern - Vogue 2286

Vogue 2286 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via eBay.

The red version of the top can be seen in this campaign photo by Oliviero Toscani:

Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani

Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Dazed Digital.

4. Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1989 prêt-à-porter

Presented the year of the bicentenary of French Revolution, Kelly’s final collection was conceived as a celebration of France and America. Vogue 2385 is a shawl-effect dress designed for stretch knits; the contrast front inset extends into a shoulder drape. The illustration’s red drape version may be seen in Runway of Love:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2385

Vogue 2385 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via Etsy.

The grey stripe version was featured in the Fall/Winter 1989 ad campaign:

Patrick Kelly Fall 1989 ad campaign

Patrick Kelly Fall 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Pinterest.

Vogue 2556 is a button-studded ensemble consisting of jacket, skirt, and coat. The design requires forty-one buttons for the jacket alone:

1990 Patrick Kelly suit and coat pattern - Vogue 2556

Vogue 2556 by Patrick Kelly (1990) Image via Etsy.

The Vogue 2556 jacket and skirt were photographed for this Apollo Landing-themed campaign image:

Patrick Kelly FW1989 Toscani

Patrick Kelly FW 1989 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A hot pink version, included in the Philadelphia exhibit, has a matching hat and cape, and rainbow buttons:

Patrick Kelly FW1989

Patrick Kelly suit and cape ensemble, FW 1989 collection. Image via Dazed Digital.

Despite covering only two years, the sewing patterns are an excellent sample of Kelly’s bold and playful work.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love runs through November 30th, 2014.

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§ 6 Responses to Patrick Kelly: Vogue Patterns

  • Sandra says:

    Thank you. You have really whetted my appetite. I am planning to visit the PA Museum to see this exhibit next week and your posting has made me even more excited. Before going, I am going to take out all of my Patrick Kelly patterns and after the visit am going to make something of his.

  • fabrickated says:

    There are some super looks here, aren’t there. Is so easy to dismiss the 80s out of hand. I hang my head in shame about some of the stuff I wore back then. But looking at it dispassionately there was such verve and innovation, new fabrics, punk, cross-gender looks, deconstruction, Japanese influences, and this post has helped me see Patrick Kelly’s work in a new light. Thank you.

  • The cape and suit ensemble is so pretty and somehow even sophisticated despite it’s loud color. Thanks for the post, I did not know about this designer before and a really delighted to find out about him (-:

  • itsmeak says:

    Beautiful post about Patrick Kelly’s designs. Thank you.

  • […] As part of its current exhibition, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is sharing a pattern for a one-seam coat designed by Patrick Kelly in 1984. (See my post on Patrick Kelly’s Vogue patterns here.) […]

  • Paulette says:

    Like this , I have a patrick Kelly jacket,
    Great designer.

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