Antonio Lopez was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico. When he was seven years old, his family moved to New York City. His parents, Maria Luisa Cruz and Francisco Lopez influenced him to apply his artistic talents to fashion.He attended the Traphagen School of Fashion, the High School of Art and Design, and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Lopez graduated from Traphagen School of Fashion in 1955 in Illustration.While attending F.I.T. as a student in 1962, he began an internship at Women’s Wear Daily which led to him leaving school and working at the publication. Shortly afterward he left for a freelance position at the New York Times.He also did illustrations of fashion designs by Charles James.
Lopez worked in close collaboration with Juan Eugene Ramos, and for a few years they were romantic partners.In 1969 he moved to Paris along with Ramos and was an associate of Karl Lagerfeld; he stayed there until the mid-1970s.Lopez discovered Jessica Lange in 1974. He discovered Jerry Hall and lived with her in Paris at the beginning of her modeling career.Lopez and Ramos also discovered Grace Jones and Tina Chow. In additions to books of his fashion illustration, the book Antonio's Tales From the Thousand and One Nights was published in 1985.The book was the inspiration for Marc Jacobs’ 2007 "Arabian Nights" event.
A book on the career of Antonio Lopez, Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex, & Disco, by Roger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha (with a foreword by Andre Leon Talley and an epilogue by Anna Sui), was published by Rizzoli in September 2012. Lopez explored themes of queer desire and race in his art through cultural references to subjects, such as Josephine Baker and The Wild One.
Painter Paul Caranicas is president of the Antonio Lopez Foundation.The organization Focus on AIDS, which raises funds for AIDS research, care and education through photography auctions was founded in 1987 by Baraz and Vue magazine publisher Hossein Farmani in response to Lopez' death.
A major retrospective is held at Fondazione Sozzumi in Milano curated by Anne Morin Antonio Lopez, drawings and photographs from January 12th to April 13th 2020.
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