Urban Fitness, Gendered Practices, and Fine Art: The Significance of Antonio Lopez’s Sporty Styling of Fashion by Michael A. Langkjær

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Pages 189-211 | Published online: 18 Oct 2016

The author re-examines claims in the literature on Antonio Lopez that from the 1970s this fashion illustrator had significantly influenced the sporty styling of fashion. However, Antonio’s 1960s swimsuit-, motorcycling- and varsity-themed ads reveal some prior links with sport. Antonio’s later Olympics illustrations, and especially his renditions of bodybuilders and athletes, evoked the urban fitness and hedonism of 1970s and 1980s New York. This went along with inspiration derived from the 1930s’ so-called “American Scene” artists Benton, Marsh and Hopper. Antonio was also influenced by Warhol’s portrayals of masculine exhibitionism and homoeroticism. For Antonio, the appeal of sport can be explained by an envious appropriation of the athletic physique as well as a personal re-imaging along sporty lines. The “horsetails” and “centaurs” which figure in Antonio’s work hint at his spirited sexuality. It is concluded that from the mid-1960s Antonio had already been illustrating sportswear, that he was inspired by depictions of sport and corporeal physicality by fine artists, and that his true significance for the sporty styling of fashion consisted in a “Warholian” edginess in choice of themes and treatment of motifs at a time of much hedonism and shading of gender.

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Michael A. Langkjær

Michael A. Langkjær (PhD, University of Copenhagen) is an External Associate Professor in the History Section of the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Langkjær has written on post-war Anglo-American youth fashion and on military-style rock performer costume. He is presently researching how Bildung and the idea of the Rococo have affected Karl Lagerfeld’s self-styling, fashion-design and photography.