Antonio Lopez 1970 Sex, Fashion and Disco recalls talented illustrator

Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco | Revelation Film Festival | July 9 & 15 | ★ ★ ★ ★  

This documentary brings together models, fashion designers and photographers who remember the illustrator Antonio Lopez.

In the late 1960’s illustrator Antonio Lopez begins to make his mark on the fashion world creating illustrations that were radically different to what the industry was used to. His drawing were loose, colourful and into them he inserted so much more than just the fashion style he was meant to be capturing.

Antonio drew the models and his collaborator Juan Eugene Ramos coloured them in. The duo started their career as a couple, but when their romance ended they continued their successful professional partnership together.

While hanging out in Central Park and dance club Max’s Kansas City Lopez discovered many of the models who would go on to become the biggest names in the fashion industry. Those who knew him recount how seductive the illustrators personality was, and it didn’t matter if you were male or female – he could turn on his magic.

In the early days of gay liberation the loose collective of friends and colleagues lived life to the fullest, but friends remember Lopez’s family shunned him after learning of his bisexuality.

The documentary’s talking heads include a lot of familiar faces including the late Bill Cunningham, who gave up his large apartment in Carnegie Hall passing it on to the illustrator. Vogue’s creative editor Grace Coddington who worked as a model for the illustrator and actress Jessica Lange who recalls who after a drawing session they’d head out to party on the town.

Jessica Lange is just one of the many models who were discovered by Lopez alongside Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Tina Chow, Donna Jordan and Jane Forth. Commentators note that most of the models Lopez discovered went on to have careers beyond modeling becoming musicians, actors and authors.

The duo’s success would continue to grow when they began working in Europe in the 1970’s and established a long working relationship with designer Karl Lagerfield.

The film spends a lot of time focusing on the fun the group of friends had in New York and Paris, before many lives are suddenly cut short in early 1980’s by the onset of the AIDS pandemic. Sadly this part of the documentary is quite fleeting and leaves you wishing the film had a different balance.

The film also fails to investigate if Lopez’s work had any impact on artists who followed and what his lasting creative impact was. Regardless – it’s a well made film with a great soundtrack and will leave you inspired to live life to the full.

Graeme Watson

The Revelation International Film Festival is on from July 5 – 18. Head to the festival website for all the screening times.



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