Without ever forgetting his Deep South roots, African-American clothing designer Patrick Kelly left his imprint on the Paris fashion world in the mid 1980’s. Kelly’s talent, drive, and the financial support of influential friends converged on his pathway to success. In 1988, he was admitted as first person of color and the first American to the Fédération française de la couture, du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode (English: French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers).
Kelly produced clothing for a solid five years before succumbing to AIDS at the age of 35. He is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Through November 30, 2014, more than eighty of his designs will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Arts in the Perelman Building. More info at: http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/current.html.