Every time I think I’m settling back in to a daily blogging schedule, the urgent fight against white supremacists and dictatorship calls me away. Sometimes breaking news even cancels planned protest actions, like last weekend, when the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg caused my team to postpone our #TrumpRat art project in D.C., and gather at the Supreme Court building instead. I hadn’t finished my blog tribute to the Notorious RBG when activists started prepping for what was correctly predicted to be an outrageous injustice in the case of the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. I joined thousands of peaceful protestors in the streets of New York City last night, in an action led by the inspiring organizers of the Black Women’s March.
Now I’m prepping to go back to D.C. for a couple of days. But I had to hop on here when the AIDS Memorial Instagram account reminded me that today was the birthday of one of my favorite designers, the late Patrick Kelly. The post includes a great video clip.
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was an American, Paris based fashion designer who died of AIDS in Paris. He was 35 years old. One of Patrick’s clients was the late great Bette Davis who he met through a member of his team. The actress, who Patrick affectionately called “Ms. D”, famously wore his design while a guest on @letterman in 1987 and she remained a devotee of his clothes until her death in 1989. Less than three months after Davis passed, Patrick died at the Hotel Dieu, a hospital near the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Originally the causes of death were reported to be bone marrow disease and a brain tumor but the actual cause is now acknowledged to be AIDS. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Patrick studied art at @jacksonstateu and then attended @parsonsschoolofdesign. While living in Atlanta, at age 18, he sold reworked, recycled clothes and served as an unpaid window-dresser at @ysl. In 1988, @ysl chairman Pierre Bergé sponsored Patrick to form the Paris-based womenswear fashion house named Patrick Kelly Paris. He later 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. 🎥 1989 Fashion Television with @thejeannebeker #whatisrememberedlives
Last year — which seems like three lifetimes ago, doesn’t it? — I did a YouTube video about Patrick, in which I discussed my adventures wearing a vintage Kelly gown that remains one of my favorite dresses of all time.
You can see other pieces of my Patrick Kelly collection in various blog posts. Not gonna lie: I need to lose some COVID-19 weight ASAP to fit back into those because his pieces carry a lot of meaning for me.
Anyway, as for #TrumpRat, we did successfully drive him to D.C. last weekend and store him there. Hopefully, we will have a chance to inflate him this weekend. We also ordered buttons to give out to people who see us with #TrumpRat — those will direct them to the #TrumpRat website we set up with helpful voting information. I find appealing giveaways (anything you can wear!) to help convince people to take follow-up actions. If you’d like to donate a few dollars towards our expenses, our GoFundMe is still open.
Sheila (of Ephemera) says
I loved that Patrick Kelly video – look at baby Jeanne Bekker! I love her! I used to watch her on Fashion Files in the 80s. I rewatched your video too – gawd, that dress is so amazing, the leopard one (and it was in the other video!).
I hear ya on the COVID weight (chocolate is apparently NOT actually medicinal). I have a pair of Alexander McQueen checkerboard trousers that I need to ensure I keep fitting into.
Kudos to you as always, Wendy, for your activism. I am with you in spirit!
Oh God, we all loved her!