Keighley, Yorkshire, England
|Education||Bradford School of Art,
Royal College of Art
|Known for||evening wear, suits, melding fashion with rock|
|Awards||Evening Glamour Award
(British Fashion Awards)
Antony Price is a London fashion designer best known for evening wear and suits, and for being as much an "image-maker" as a designer. He has collaborated with a number of high-profile musicians, including David Bowie, Steve Strange, and Duran Duran, but especially Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, whose look was defined by Price's designs. The manner in which Price dressed – or in many cases, undressed – the "Roxy girls" on the covers of their albums helped to define the band’s pop retro-futurism.
More recently, Price has been noted for dressing celebrities such as Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Patsy Kensit, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Hall, Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana Ross, Melanie Griffith, Yasmin Le Bon and burlesque performer Dita Von Teese.
Early life and education
Price was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, England in 1945, and grew up Selside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, later moving to Oxenhope. He was educated at Eshton Hall School for Boys in Gargrave, Yorkshire. In 1961, At the age of 16, he gained entrance to the Bradford School of Art – now the Bradford School of Arts and Media Studies – completing a one year General Art and Design course, followed by specialising for three years in Womenswear Fashion. In 1965 he entered the Royal College of Art's Fashion School in London where he completed a three-year course – two years in Womenswear Fashion, and the final year and degree show in Menswear Fashion. Price credits his time at the Bradford School as invaluable in preparing him for the Royal College, saying: "I arrived at the Royal College of Art with a total headstart and was able to whip my own show together."
Directly out of college, in 1968, Price began working for the new Stirling Cooper shop, designing men's trousers, coats and waistcoats which drew on sexual fetishism for their impact. Stirling Cooper was situated in London's Wigmore Street, and had a noted oriental interior designed by Price and Jane Whiteside. With Juliet Mann, Price also designed the next shop he designed for, from 1969–1974, Che Guevara on Kensington High Street. Prudence Glynn, fashion editor for The Times tipped him as a major new fashion talent in 'Trendsetters', giving him the main picture and writing that 'Anthony Price is a sensational cutter and he puts a lot of work and thought into the shaping of even the most casual clothes. His range of little bare tops in crepe and cotton, for example, are technical feats, for they all have bra sections cut into the pattern … he is undoubtedly a trendsetter and in advance of his time … his clothes have great wit and gaiety and he is certainly a name to be watched in the future'. He next designed for Plaza, and then, in 1979, started his own label, with shops in South Molton Street and on the King's Road. He also operated a shop called 'Ebony' in the 1980s.
Price's button trousers for Stirling Cooper were worn by Mick Jagger for The Rolling Stones' 1969 American Gimme Shelter Tour. In addition, his bridge-crutch trousers were feat of technical skill, inventing a new construction that highlighted the male crotch and buttocks. He was the stylist for Roxy Music's first eight albums, as well as for the back cover for Lou Reed's 1972 Transformer album. His self-declared trademark design is a spiral-zipped dress in ciré satin, first seen worn by Amanda Lear in Nova's cover story for its May 1970 issue, 'How To Undress for Your Husband' and later featured as one of 'Princess Zonda's archetypal outfits in the advertisements Price drew himself for Plaza in the late seventies. The Lear pictures appeared in Peter York's feature on Price in Harper's and Queen's April 1979 issue. Lear was also the Price-dressed covergirl for Roxy Music's 1973 album For Your Pleasure.
A year later, in 1984, Price staged another 'Fashion Extravaganza' at the London's Hippodrome, combining fashion and rock music. "I'm partly responsible for the marriage of rock and fashion," Price said in 1998, "When I started out, rock people thought fashion people were snobby and fashion people though the music industry grubby and dirty." Stylist David Thomas says about Price's influence:
He reinvented the suit so that it was no longer about going to the office. He made it rock'n'roll. He started at a time when British fashion didn't have sponsors. It was the era before the superstar designer. They all came after him. Yet he was a visionary. He created that military, dandy, sexy, eclectic men's look. He created rock'n'roll fashion.
Price has declared that 'I'm not a fashion designer ... I'm in the theatrical business,' and for Fashion Aid at Albert Hall in 1985 he conceived of a presentation of model, client and long-standing friend Jerry Hall emerging from a black velvet box. The outfit consisted 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.'
Price received the 'Evening Glamour Award' from the British Fashion Council in 1989, and the following year British Vogue published a profile on Price written by Sarah Mower. He described his approach to designing women's clothing in an interview in 1994:
My clothes are men's idea of what women should wear, and for that they'll pay good money. ... Men are looking for the sex robot from Lang's Metropolis with the perfect body offering endless fantasy sex. They're obsessed by the size of sexual protuberances – their own as well as women's – and I'm an illusionist. My job is to give them what they want.
In 2000, Price opened his own shop again in Chelsea and created evening gowns constructed of carpet to feature in the advertising campaigns of British carpet manufacturer Brintons, a commission previously undertaken by Vivienne Westwood. In 2000 he also created clothing for Glenalmond Tweed, along with 25 other British designers including Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Margaret Howell, and in 2003 he was among a number of British designers who created gowns for Pamela Anderson when she hosted the British Fashion Awards that year.
Price was nominated for the British Fashion Council's 'Red Carpet Designer Award' at the 2006 British Fashion Awards, and a small range of his clothes sell in London boutique 'A La Mode'. He was featured in the fashion magazines Pop and Butt in spring 2005. In December 2006, Price was photographed by David Bailey for British Vogue alongside Christopher Kane. Price has worked with Daphne Guinness in developing a range of key shirt and tailoring designs for her eponymous clothing line, which is currently sold in London's Dover Street Market. He also launched a line of menswear for Topman in November 2008.
Price continues to design clothing for the elite, including the Duchess of Cornwall. In May 2012, he dressed actress Tilda Swinton for his appearance in drag for the cover of Candy magazine, described as "the first fashion magazine completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transexuality, crossdressing and androgyny in all their glory." In 2013, Price resumed his association with Steve Strange (whom previously he had designed outfits for during the Visage – The Anvil period in 1982) and designed an outfit for the relaunch of Steve Strange's Visage project, which he wore for the David Bowie V&A Exhibition Private View Gala Night.
- McDowell, Colin. Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion (1984) quoted in " Antony Price" on SHOWstudio
- Iley, Chrissy. "Return of the dand" 'The Guardian (17 April 2008)
- "Jerry Hall talks to Anthony Price" Wonderland Magazine No. 12 (February/March 2008) Accessed: 27 May 2012
- Blanchard, Tamsin. "After the hype, British fashion lures the serious money" The Independent (4 February 1998)
- Alexander, Hilary and Woolcock, Nicola. "Pamela Anderson to front 'fashion Oscars'" The Daily Telegraph (4 September 2003)
- "Antony Price, the man who redesigned the Duchess of Cornwall" The Telegraph (4 October 2008) Accessed: 27 May 2012
- Lambert, Angela. "Interview: Price of perfection: Antony Price once dressed Bryan Ferry and the Rolling Stones. Now he reshapes women in frocks that are quite simply gripping" The Independent (19 July 1994)
- "Antony Price" on 175 Heroes at Bradford College
- Bracewell (2007), p.315
- Bracewell (2007), p.316
- *" Antony Price" on SHOWstudio
- The Times (18 April 1972) p.11
- Baker, Caroline and Duffy (photographs). Nova (May 1970)
- York, Peter. "Selliing Price" (April 1979)
- Nika, Coleen. "Duran Duran Toast to the Glamour of 'Rio,' 30 Years Later" Rolling Stone (3 May 2012)
- Blanchard, Tamsin. "Fashion: Price is right for the house that Gianni built" The Independent (11 February 1998)
- Hochswender, Woody. "In London, Subway Style Above Ground" New York Times (19 October 1989)
- Zak, Dan. "The Style Blog:Tilda Swinton on the cover of Candy magazine" Washington Post (23 May 2012)
- "Steve Strange is David Bowie – Private View – exhibition gala night held at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) – Arrivals – London, United Kingdom – Wednesday 20th March 2013"
- Bracewell, Michael. Re-make / Re-model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the Making of Roxy Music, 1953–1972. London, Faber & Faber, 2007. ISBN 978-0-571-22985-7