JSU Art Galleries

Johnson Hall Gallery Department of Art
1400 JR Lynch Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39217
8:30am – 5:00pm

College of Liberal Art Gallery:
Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Building
1400 JR Lynch Street
9:00a – 5:00p

JSU Downtown Campus
101 W. Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201
9:00a – 5:00p

Patrick Kelly: From MS to NY to Paris and Back

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In 2016, Jackson State University's Gallery1 presented Patrick Kelly: From Mississippi to New York to Paris and Back, a show featuring twenty-five of Kelly's designs that were gifted to JSU's H.T. Sampson Archives. This was made possible due to the Gallery Director, Shon McCarthy, who collaborated with Philadelphia Museum of Art and the generous gift from the owners of Kelly’s estate, Bill and Bjorn Amelan. The exhibition opening was student centered and included a fashion show. In addition, Mayor George Flaggs, Kelly’s former Vicksburg and JSU classmate attended and spoke to an audience of 500 plus supporters of Kelly. In 2017, McCarthy collaborated with the Mayor of Vicksburg to bring the exhibition to the City of Vicksburg.  The two day exhibition featured twenty-five of Kelly’s designs. It was attended by family, friends, and former classmates. Jackson State University, Vicksburg High, and Warren Central High School students provided a fashion show. In the summer of 2017, the owners of the estate gifted Patrick Kelly’s alma mater (Jackson State University) with an additional 250 plus pieces from Kelly’s collection, again thanks to the collaboration of Philadelphia Museum of Art and Director, Shon McCarthy. Research and learn, he was the designer known for incorporating buttons and with a mission to "make you smile"!​


patrick kelly and naomi campbell


























Please read his biography listed below. 

Patrick Kelly (September 24, 1954 – January 1, 1990) was an American fashion designer. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Kelly studied art at Jackson State University and then attended Parsons School of Design. While living in Atlanta at age 18 Kelly sold reworked, recycled clothes and served as an unpaid window-dresser at Yves Saint Laurent. YSL chairman Pierre Bergé personally sponsored Kelly in 1988 to form the Paris-based womenswear fashion house Patrick Kelly Paris. Kelly achieved his greatest commercial success in the late 1980s and in 1988 Kelly became both the first American and the first person of color to be admitted as a member of the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode.  Kelly died at age 35 on New Year's Day, 1990.

Working from Paris, Kelly produced collections for five years, beginning in 1985 and continuing until his death in 1990. After receiving financial backing from the U.S. based fashion conglomerate Warnaco in July, 1987, Kelly was able to hire a staff and eventually achieve wholesale sales of US $7.2 million per year.  Kelly's designs were sold in upscale retailers including Henri BendelBergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's and were worn by celebrities including Isabella RosselliniBette DavisCicely Tyson and Grace Jones Kelly's designs frequently incorporated bright colors, were often embellished with ribbons and buttons and suggested a sense of whimsy and joy while sometimes addressing difficult issues of race. This was pointed out by the giving his audience a tiny brown doll with molded black hair that could be most accurately described as a "pickaninny". Kelly also used culture using motifs such as watermelon and the golliwog. He was known to walk the runway in baggy overalls and used a large spray paint heart as the background to his fashion shows. 

Kelly was described as an extremely hard working individual and gained a reputation for demanding his staff match is work ethic. He was also an advocate for models of color and often made a point to include them in his work.

In 2004, The Brooklyn Museum presented Patrick Kelly: A Retrospective, a show featuring more than sixty Kelly designs.  In 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presented the exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love.