By: Diane Granahan
“I hope that I’m able to see the magical side of fashion for as many years as he did.” – Bill Cunningham
On view at El Museo del Barrio in New York is Future Funk Fashion, an enriching exhibition documenting the vast array of work produced by famed fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez (1943-1987). Puerto Rican-born and New York-raised, Lopez began at a young age drawing flowers for his mother’s embroideries and applying make-up and stitching wigs for his father’s mannequins. He exceled quickly with a scholarship to a prestigious art school at the age of 12 and eventually moved on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He was soon swept up by Women’s Wear Daily and The New York Times. He became a freelancer for major fashion publications such as Vogue and Andy Warhol’s Interview. He illustrated designs by couturier Charles James. His work made huge strides in representing the racialized body, helping to create a new signature of beauty in the 70s and 80s world of fashion. On March 17, 1987 Lopez died from AIDS-related complications. His circle of friends included the likes of Pat Cleveland, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and Bill Cunningham. The exhibition is on view through November 26, 2016.