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Posts Tagged ‘fashion designers’

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

On now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is the West Coast premiere of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, a celebration of Mr. Kelly and his inspired fashions of the 1980s.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of French Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I was not familiar with Mr. Kelly before hearing of this exhibit but I’m happy to have found him and now he is among my favorites. I appreciate his humor and references to fashion history; I see a touch of Schiparelli here and a pinch of Chanel there, but with a unique Kelly twist. There is something very charming about these designs – they are playful, fun, and yet still polished. He was a master at playing with sophisticated silhouettes by adding unexpected adornments like buttons, tassels, and dice. His use of buttons was inspired by his grandmother who, when he was a child, used to replace his lost buttons with whatever style and color she had on hand. That “outside the box” approach stuck with Mr. Kelly.

Runway of Love, curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Associate Curator of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, is divided into four sections covering Mr. Kelly’s career from hand making knit jersey dresses in his early Paris days to his successful runway shows. One of the sections includes some of his personal collection of racist memorabilia, which served as inspiration for him in his designs. Although controversial in America at that time, his use of racist symbols was his way of controlling the charged images and that puts another interesting twist on his work.

In 1988 Mr. Kelly was the first American and first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode, the prestigious French association for ready-to-wear designers. This was quite an honor and well deserved!

Patrick Kelly’s archive of fashions was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Mr. Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Amelan, who said that he spent years after Mr. Kelly’s early death of complications from AIDS in 1990, looking for the right home for the archive.

As well as 80 fully accessorized ensembles, the exhibit includes several videos of runway shows, sketches and art by the designer, and other ephemera.

From the 80s music in the background to the upbeat videos, from the buttons to the bright colors to the cultural references – I walked out of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love uplifted and inspired. I can’t recommend this exhibit enough.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum now through April 24, 2022.

A few things to know before you go:

  1. Pack a mask! Masks are required on everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
  2. The Coat Room is closed; travel light and remember that backpacks must be hand held inside the museum.
  3. To allow for plenty of safe space in the galleries the tickets are timed, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

And there’s more! Continue to explore Patrick Kelly with a series of panel discussions Wednesdays at 5pm: October 27th, November 3rd, March 30, April 23. Click here for the full scoop.

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PARIS, FRANCE – CIRCA 1988: Patrick Kelly at the Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 show circa 1988 in Paris, France. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

I just want my clothes to make you smile.

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990), American fashion designer.

Well, I think Mr. Kelly achieved that desire. His whimsical fashions definitely make me smile.

Tune in tomorrow for my two cents on Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibition on now at the de Young Museum.

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Sandy Schreier is known for her collection of couture fashion that numbers over 15,000 items. The story goes that when she was a child growing up in Detroit her father worked in the fur department of a high end department store. Often he took his daughter to work where she made friends with the lady customers. Before long these wealthy ladies were gifting some of their used couture gowns and everyday wear to Ms. Schreier to play dress up. Well, even then she knew she was on to something and didn’t play with the clothing but instead kept it all safe, eventually storing everything she was given a spare room of the family home.

She continued collecting, later putting an ad in the paper looking for donations. Her collection is just that, a collection not a wardrobe. She says she considers the pieces like artwork and has never worn them.

Her collection includes pieces by Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Adrian … all the biggies past and present.

In 2019 Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection at The Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute displayed 80 of the 165 pieces, which Ms. Schreier has promised to donate to the institute.

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Designs by Patrick Kelly, part of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum, SF. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Save the date!! Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love opens at the de Young Museum on October 23, 2021 and runs though April 24, 2022.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and includes 80 fully accessorized designs organized into sections that highlight the inspiration behind the designer’s work.

I can’t wait! How about you?

Check out the website and plan your visit. Note: Masks are required.

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Photo: Harper’s Bazaar

I’d like to eradicate the categories of menswear and womenswear. Fluidity offers an alternate way of being, crossing and merging masculine and feminine.

Harris Reed, British/American gender-fluid fashion designer.

This quote is from a brief article in Harper’s Bazaar, November 2020.

Mr. Reed is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London. In addition to designing for his own clothing line, he has worked for Gucci, and he created the unique looks for British pop star Harry Styles’ photos in Vogue magazine.

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We all went up and found our garment bag and unzipped it and out popped twenty identical outfits: a double breasted houndstooth pattern jacket, a matching knee length pleated skirt, a rib knit turtleneck sweater, and a black beret. And we were expected to wear black and white saddle shoes and white knee-high socks. I was miserable. This getup was going to make me look like a cow.

Betsey Johnson, American fashion designer.

This quote is from Betsey Johnson: A Memoir (Viking, 2020).

Earlier this year while searching my local library’s online catalogue, I found this memoir in audiobook format. How perfect to listen to while working on various weekend sewing projects.

Ms. Johnson is the reader and generally speaking reading is not her forte, however, she has such earnestness and enthusiasm that I can’t imagine anyone else’s voice reading her story.

The quote I’ve used is about one of the many outfits that she and the other young ladies were to wear in1964 going out and about in New York City as the summer interns at Mademoiselle magazine. Like many other women before her (Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion) Ms. Johnson won a coveted place as a junior editor.

Born in 1942 in Connecticut, Ms. Johnson wanted initially to be an artist and she studied art in college, but it was her internship at Mademoiselle that led to the right connections that led to fashion design. Always ahead of her time in style and the way she lived her life, Ms. Johnson never let anything stop her from doing what she wanted, particularly not the conventions of her generation. A can-do approach combined with a lot of luck provided her an interesting if not always a rosy life.

There are so many fascinating tidbits in this memoir, including brushes with Andy Warhol and Eddie Sedgwick; hanging out with the guys from The Velvet Underground (she even married one of them); fabric research trips around the world. She was married three times, had a baby on her own, started and ran two fashion businesses, and survived breast cancer. Additionally, any fashion historian will enjoy hearing the many details of how the industry operated back in the day.

A fun yet informative read!

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Recycled plastic folded and formed into a wearable garment. Issey Miyake, 2010.

What I have been trying to do, and what I have probably done, is to make clothes that seem to have existed for a long, long time. In reality they never existed. I am not a designer who creates fashionable aesthetics. I make style out of life, not style out of style.

Issey Miyake – Japanese fashion designer.

May we all find inspiration for style from everyday life.

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I have many of my late mother’s dresses from the 70s. Some are unraveling, but I feel close to her when I wear them around my house. There’s a red floral one that reminds me of summers in Oklahoma.

Sherri McMullen – boutique owner.

Originally from Oklahoma, Ms. McMullen owns the fashion boutique McMullen, located in downtown Oakland. Offering luxury clothing by designers from around the world, McMullen has been named among the top American boutiques by Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily.

I also own much of my mother’s clothing from the 50s to the 70s and I can relate to what Ms. McMullen is saying. These vintage pieces of fashion are woven with memories and images that connect us to our past. I think that’s of great value.

Sunday, May 9th is Mother’s Day. ODFL wishes all the moms out there a very happy day!

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Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

We had this vast archive of fabrics from the past decade, and we really tapped into that – and in a strange way it forced us to be more creative.

Lazaro Hernandez, American fashion designer and co-founder of the womenswear brand Proenza Schouler.

Pandemic Year 2020 was challenging for fashion designers as they faced disruptions in the industry’s supply chain – mills were shut, materials were moving slowly or not at all, and manufacturing of just about everything across the globe was at a standstill. So for new collections, designers got creative and sorted through stacks of unused fabrics from past years.

According to a 2017 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation less than one percent of the fabric produced by the fashion industry was recycled into new garments. But in 2020, out of necessity, there was a shift. Fingers crossed this shift will stick.

Milliner Behida Dolic once told me that she was grateful for having to be thrifty because it made her more creative and resourceful. Spoons became tools and every bit of fabric was put to use, including extra bits of leftover felt which she used as decoration on her fabulous one-of-a-kind hats.

What’s in your fabric collection? Make it your next project.

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I’ve never been a handbag person or spent a lot on bags, but I bought my first Comme bag in New York 10 years ago. It just spoke to me. I liked all the zippers and the handle on it, and that you could dress it up or down. I also liked the size of it: It wasn’t too big, but it had nice deep compartments. I don’t know how girls do it when they get all dressed up for the Emmys and they have these tiny, little bags.

Amy Sedaris – American actress.

This quote is from Harper’s Bazaar, February 2021.

Ms. Sedaris is speaking of the Comme des Garcons Aoyama handbag. She goes on to say that she carried that first handbag until it wore out and then she replaced it with the same style also in black. Later she bought one in white and another one in pink. Now that is brand loyalty.

It is a simple classic handbag and it reminds me of styles from the 1960s. (My mother would have liked it.) As Ms. Sedaris says it’s large enough but not overwhelming and it has a certain understated cool factor. She comments that it “makes me feel like a grown-up.”

I usually like a handle bag, but these days with the pandemic and masks and distancing I’m using crossbody bags. I like my hands free and everything I need at an easy reach. Handle bags can be awkward.

As for small handbags at dress-up events? Well, during the pandemic it’s a non-issue but what I do is … make use of my escort’s pockets.

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