Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Strokes of Genius: Antonio Lopez

STROKES OF GENIUS: ANTONIO LOPEZ:  When fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez passed away from AIDS at age 44 in 1987, there was a shockwave that rippled throughout the creative world.  How could it be?  And how would the fashion world look without those amazing drawings, sketches and illustrations that somehow came to symbolize everything that was the best, the most beautiful, the most evocative in fashion?  Simply known as Antonio, his style has never been equaled, nor can it ever be.  The fluidity of his lines, the sumptuous colors, the striking poses of his subjects were Antonio's...and Antonio's alone.  Virtually every fashion model that counted in those hazy, crazy '70s and '80s posed for him: the still-stunning Pat Cleveland; Jerry Hall; Grace Jones, Tina Chow -- and so many, many more (Jones, Chow and actress Jessica Lange were among Antonio's discoveries).  Credit is often never given to Juan Ramos, Antonio's lifelong lover and collaborator whom he met while both were students at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the early 1960s.  An interesting look at the world of Antonio and Juan (as equally colorful as his career) is observed in the book The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake which captures the antics of the two during their stay in Paris and their intricate relationship with Karl Lagerfeld.  Sadly, there needs to be better books on his works.  The Missoni advertising campaign shown here (which ran during the 1984 Olympics) is probably Antonio's most recognizable -- such is their gorgeous use of color and a sense of motion that many illustrators just simply could not capture -- but Antonio did.  And that is what made him so special.
Images copyright Missoni and the Estate of Antonio Lopez