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Though he may not be a household name, Antonio Lopez helped to define the look of the 1970s

Though he may not be a household name, Antonio Lopez helped to define the look of the 1970s. One of the all-time-great fashion illustrators, he brought a fresh sense of color and buoyancy to the art form, and helped to establish such famous faces of the era as Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, Tina Chow, Grace Jones and Jerry Hall. Now Lopez is getting his own moment in the spotlight, as the subject of the recently released documentary Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco, directed by James Crump.


Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, Lopez became a core member of New York's downtown demimonde, rubbing elbows with Andy Warhol and creating sketches for magazines such as Vogue. In 1969, he and art director Juan Ramos, a fellow Nuyorican, decamped for Paris, and they quickly made themselves an indispensable part of that city's fashion scene, as well. Along the way, Lopez frequently crossed paths with Mr. Valentino and Mr. Giammetti—and, naturellement, his oeuvre includes more than a few fantastic depictions of Valentino looks, such as a great portrait of Marisa Berenson lounging in a black-and-white Valentino frock. And when he illustrated a Valentino ad campaign in 1974, he didn't neglect to include a sketch of Mr. Valentino, himself.


Lopez' career was cut short, tragically: He died in 1987, a casualty of AIDS. His influence lives on, however—and with the advent of social media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr, his work is more visible now than it has been in decades, as fashion fans scour the archives for vintage Lopez images to add to their online galleries.  Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco gives those fans a chance to meet the man behind the work.


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