Born in 1942 Gianantonio Iorio in Queens, New York, to a metalworker, John Anthony has evolved into a dress designer who uses the most luxurious fabrics in the simplest shapes with unequalled taste. His father was an Italian-American sculptor. While attending the High School of Industrial Arts, he was awarded a scholarship to the Accademia d'Arte in Rome, Italy. He spent several years in Italy, studying art, then returned to New York, and joined the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York, graduating in 1959. He married Mollie and had a son named Mark.

Anthony started his career working for 9 years (1959-1968) at Devonbrook Sportswear and then from 1968 to 1970 for Adolphe Zelinka.

John Anthony started his own firm on Seventh Avenue, New York in 1971. His first collection was an edited Marlene Dietrich look, featuring masculine tailoring in pinstripe and herringbone wools, softened with blouses underneath, or pleated and smocked crepe dresses. He also presented pleated and smocked crepe dresses. His meticulously crafted collections have earned him a reputation for being one of fashion's most talented minimalists.

By 1976, he was showing the soft, liquid separates that became his trademark; ice cream colors seemed to melt into clothes that were so light they almost floated. Anthony believes designing clothes is a fusion of function and purpose. The function appears to be his logical, wearable approach; the purpose lies in his pared-down minimalist ideas. He edits collections down to their bare essentials and, while other designers often show over 100 styles per collection, he makes his statement in half this number.

Within a year of opening his own ready-to-wear company, John Anthony won a Coty Fashion Award. He won his second in 1976.

In the 1980's, he preferrered the smaller, more intimate scale of working directly with their clients.

Anthony took 2 years off from 1984 to 1986, then opened a new atelier on 66th Street in 1986. One of the favourite evening silhouettes of the 1980's was the bustier topped short evening dress in a taffeta version from 1988.

Anthony's masterpieces have traditionally sold in the higher-end marketplace, with a coat going for $6,000, a suit for $8,000, and an evening gown for $20,000, but the line he released in 2001 featured sizes up to 16 and the price tags range from $1,800 to $5,000, putting his works within reach of the average upper middle-class consumer.

The Look

His clothing was luxurious, tailored as it had been in the 70's but interpreted in opulent materials, like wool trimmed with fur or silk embroidered overall in intricately beaded geometric patterns. His subtle, understated clothes are designed for a young, sophisticated woman. He uses natural fabrics like wool, crepe, chiffon, jersey, satin, and menswear fabrics. He is particularly noted for his cardigan sweaters or pullovers, teamed with skirts and his elegant gala evening gowns, in contradictory daywear fabrics. He believes the color palette in a collection should intermingle, so one item can easily go with everything else. His first collection was predominantly black with white, navy, and red. He claims to hate shock colors like turquoise or fuschia, and has usually been faithful to a range of beiges, christened with names such as peanut and cinnamon.

Who Wears It

Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Performers Lena Horne, Audrey Meadows, and Julie Andrews

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