CAMPdecadentFASHION: ANTONY PRICE

WHO:

Antony Price is a London fashion designer who is best known for glamorous evening wear and suits, and for the seventies icon of the cap sleeve t-shirt (trading under the Plaza label for the premium price of £6, this was quickly ‘ripped off’ by numerous other manufacturers).

WHO HAS HE DRESSED?

 Price has collaborated with a number of musical performers, including David Bowie, Steve Strange, and Duran Duran, but is best known for his close working relationship with Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, whose respective ‘looks’ were defined by Price’s designs.

Antony Price’s pulpish vision is of woman as a femme fatale of the most sophisticated, predatory and artificial, part harridan part mannequin.

The manner in which Price dressed – or in many cases, undressed – the Roxy girls served to define the band’s trademark pop retro-futurism. From the first cover, his obsession with a certain brand of 1950’s glamour, half Hayworth half Vargas, linked the band intrinsically to rock history, while the interpretation of these nostalgic sources projected into the future – arguably transforming Roxy Music into as much an aesthetic as musical experiment. Bryan Ferry has spoken of himself as functioning as a pop artefact , and dressed in Price’s acid suiting, tightly-waisted and square-shouldered, he was transformed into an archetype – Barbie doll meets action man .

While working for Stirling Cooper in 1967, Price designed the clothes for The Rolling Stones’ 1969 American Tour. He was the stylist for Roxy Music’s first eight albums, as well as the classic album cover for Lou Reed’s Transformer. The back photo is not, as many suspect, Lou posing with an erection, but a model with a cucumber down his trousers, wearing a pair of famous Antony Price ‘Arse’ pants, created by running horseshoe seam across the outline of the haunches. When customers complained of the baggy crotches of trousers in her ‘Pirate’ collection, Vivienne Westwood retorted ‘Well go to Antony Price then!’ His self-declared trademark design is a spiral zipped dress in ciré satin, created for the label Plaza in the late seventies. This was worn in a Harpers and Queen feature in 1979 by Amanda Lear, who was also the Price-dressed covergirl for Roxy Music’s 1973 album For Your Pleasure.

In 1985, continuing to live up to his own declaration that ‘I’m not a fashion designer… I’m in the theatrical business,’ Antony Price created a spectacular outfit for Fashion Aid, and conceived a show-stopping presentation of model, client and long-standing friend Jerry Hall emerging from a black velvet box. The outfit, consisting of a bolero and dress with lampshade peplum in metallic and red French silk lace over lamé. Price has said of this outfit ‘it wasn’t the chicest or most subtle garment, but when Jerry moved under the lights she looked like a Siamese fighting fish in a vast blue tank.’

www.antonyprice.com

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