Costumier James Kelly Collaborating With Ava Gardner Museum

Kelly will be a special guest at this year’s Ava Gardner Festival

SMITHFIELD  The Ava Gardner Museum Board of Directors is excited to announce renowned costumier James Kelly as a special guest and collaborator for this year’s Ava Gardner Festival, which is scheduled for October 6-8 in Smithfield. Mr. Kelly will be at the opening of the new “Show Boat Costumes“ exhibit and “A Toast to Ava” reception on Friday, October 6.

“The reception will start at 5 pm at the Ava Gardner Museum. Guests will enjoy a presentation by James Kelly on the Show Boat costumes designed by Walter Plunkett”, stated Lynell Seabold, Museum Executive Director. “We are also excited to offer a free film screening of Show Boat at the new Neuse River Amphitheater in Downtown Smithfield at 7:30 pm, weather permitting.”

James Kelly was born in Cornwall and studied fashion at Falmouth School of Art and Design, and costume construction at the London College of Fashion. Upon graduating he secured a position in the wardrobe department for the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he worked for 20 years. After leaving the Royal Opera House, he took the position of Head of Wardrobe with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. After returning to England from New Zealand he took up a post in the touring wardrobe with English National Ballet.

James has always had a life-long love of film and costume is his passion. He is an authority on the work of Walter Plunkett and the history of costume in Hollywood. Besides working with English National Ballet, he works with collectors of Hollywood costumes helping them to identify pieces and making replica Hollywood costumes on his YouTube Channel James Kelly London.

The reception entitled “A Toast to Ava” will include Ava’s favorite coconut cake prepared by Buttermilk Boutique, Ava Gardner Signature sparkling wine Celebration, released by the Ava Gardner Trust in collaboration with Seven Jars Winery and Nostra Vita Family Winery, and light refreshments. Tickets for the reception are $25.00 and are available online.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located at 325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC.