Antonio Lopez was born in 1943, in Utado, Puerto Rico. He was the son of a couturier, and moved to New York at the age of eight. He studied at the High School of Industrial Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
In the early 60's, he worked as a sketch artist on 7th Avenue, until in 1964, he met the designer Charles James, who was to be an enormous influence on him. Antonio worked with James, drawing all the designer's clothes, for a number of years.
With the advent of fashion photography, Vogue magazine used lesser and lesser of the illustrator's art, with the exception only of Antonio, who was almost the only artist to be found in Vogue after 1963, because of the stylistic quality and great verve of his drawings.
In 1969, while on a working trip for Elle Magazine in Paris, he met fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who encouraged him to set up a studio in Paris. He did so and became the leader of a group of celebrities.
He established himself as the foremost fashion illustrator on both sides of the Atlantic. His clever drawings of sculptured women are positive, vital and modern.
Some of his very well-known illustrations are:
1967 Emanuelle Khanh ready-to-wear for French Elle
1981 Jerry Hall in Versace, for Italian Vogue
1983 Karl Lagerfeld guitar dress for Chloe
1983 Yves St. Laurent ad campaign
Of all the latter day artists whom Vogue has chosen to employ, Antonio has been the most frequent visitor. He proved himself versatile and assertive.
Some of his illustrations for Vogue include: In 1970 he illustrated a long willowy knife pleated flowered outfit by Bill Gibb.
In 1972, he contributed a powerful set of drawings, showing Paloma Picasso wearing the new halter bras. In 1973, his sketches show a woman's face and make-up in the manner of the Fauve artists.
It can be said of Antonio that his work helped create a return to the almost forgotten art of fashion illustration in magazines. He exerted a strong influence on many younger artists.
He was the only artist commissioned by fashion magazines with any regularity during the lean years of the 60's and 70's. His was a style completely in tune with the rebellious clothes and free attitudes of the 60's. From the moment they were first published in Womens Wear Daily and the New York Times, Antonio's drawings were much in demand.
He was sought out by designers, stores and magazines around the world. Chameleon-like, he changed his colours with the years, skillfully adapting to the current mode, his extraordinary vitality and his exquisite draughtsmanship inspiring scores of imitators.
For over 20 years, Antonio remained the most consistently influential fashion illustrator and his career bridges the gap between the 60's and the renaissance of fashion illustration in the 80's.
He died in 1987 at the young age of 44.
In February 1997, a retrospective exhibition featuring over 150 of his superb illustrations, was held at the Royal College of Art in London, and was attended by crowds of people. Many of these illustrations had never been seen before.
His style was highly distinctive: bold, sweeping brush strokes show both garments and accessories in clear, attentive detail. This close attention in no way slows down the pace of the illustration.
Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Paloma Picasso