Grace Coddington in Jamaica, 1975.
Antonio Lopez is most famously known as prolific fashion illustrator of the 1970s and 1980s. Born in Puerto Rico, he moved to New York City as a child where a prodigy’s burgeoning interest in fashion was born and flourished. Antonio’s work for publications such as WWD, Interview and Vogue and designers such as Norma Kamali, Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Missoni, Yves Saint Lauren and Valentino both invigorated the fashion industry as well as the dying practice of fashion illustration in lieu of photography.
What is less known of Antonio is his work in photography.
Antonio was notorious for surrounding himself with beautiful people––Grace Jones, Donna Jordan, Pat Cleveland, Jessica Lange, Tina and Jerry Hall were among his discovered muses and were known as “Antonio’s girls”. He had an eye for talent and enigmatic individuals and his clique of glamorous, gorgeous and outrageous people were his sources of inspiration for his fashion illustrations.
The nightclub darlings of Paris and New York (Antonio being one himself) were depicted by Antonio for the most elite fashion houses and publications in the world. His lifestyle was one of glamor, decadence, beauty, and fashion and just as he was compelled to draw the people in his life, he was likewise inspired to photograph them. Antonio spent all of his time with his circle of muses and friends, his days spent working on illustrations of them and his nights spent in exclusive clubs (Club Sept in Paris, Max’s Kansas City in New York) where he mingled amongst elites of the fashion and art worlds such as Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Andy Warhol.
Of her time spent with Antonio, Pat Cleveland said, “We hung out twenty-four hours a day and had nothing to do except be out of our minds and immersed in fashion.” Completely absorbed in this strange and compelling world of extravagance and creativity, his photos give us a snapshot into the world of Antonio Lopez as both an artist, fashion taste-maker and socialite. Some of his work in photography includes professional work for magazines, but the bulk of his photos were shot with a Polaroid Instamatic, intended for documentation and personal enjoyment. The very nature of the Polaroid shot creates a sense of immediacy to a photograph–– photos of Antonio’s life and the people he surrounded himself with feel all the more alive and vivid when shot through the medium of the instant photograph. They provide a sense of the life behind the famed illustrations and the persona's that populate them. The life of Antonio Lopez during the 70s and early 80s was definitely a lifestyle and his photos mark the height of a remarkable era in fashion’s history.
Antonio Lopez in Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris, 1971.
(L) Corey Grant Tippin, Donna Jordan and Antonio Saint Tropez, 1970. (R) Karl Lagerfeld, New York City, 1975.
(L) Patti D'Arbanville, Blue Water Series, Paris, 1975. (R) Grace Jones, Blue Water Series, Paris, 1975.
Cathee Dahmen, Antonio Lopez, and Jane Forth, NYC, 1967.
Donna Jordan in Esquire, 1973.
Karl Lagerfeld, Saint Tropez, 1970.
(L) Donna Jordan and Pat Cleveland in Chloe, Cafe Bonaparte Paris, 1974. (R) Jerry Hall, Puerto Rico, 1976.
(L) Tina Chow, London, 1977. (R) Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordan in Chloe, Cafe Bonaparte, Paris, 1974.
Grace Jones, Red Coat Series, Paris, 1974.
Jessica Lange, Red Coat Series, Paris, 1974.
(L) Pat Cleveland, Blue Water Series, Paris, 1975. (R) Jerry Hall, New York City, 1976.
Divine, New York City, 1978.
(L) Grace Jones and Jerry Hall, Antonio Lopez's Apartment, Paris, 1975. (R) Jerry Hall, Paris, 1975.
Jessica Lange, Paris, 1975.
Tina Chow, London, 1975.
(L) Karl Lagerfeld, Men in Showers Series, 1976. (R) Shoe Series, New York City, 1976.
Yves Saint Laurent, Marina Schiano, Jerry Hall & Pierre Berge, Paris, 1977.