Tony Viramontes – Bold, Beautiful and Damned

1980s fashion illustrator Tony Viramontes

Bold, beautiful and Damned, is a stunning book by Dean Rhys Morgan – a retrospective of the career of iconic fashion illustrator Tony Viramontes. To anyone with even a passing interest in fashion, Viramontes’ work will be instantly recognisable. His sinewy, sexy drawings were the output of someone for whom fashion, art and life were indistinguishable. Initially owing a debt to the likes of Egon Shiele and Gustav Klimt, more than just illustrate the clothes, his style and attitude added a whole new layer of creativity to the collections he was drawing. At his height in the mid-80s, he was afforded a huge amount of creative freedom by the designers he worked with – Halston, Gaultier, Valentino and many more – acknowledging the fact that his work elevated theirs to new levels.

Experimenting with collage and large format Polaroid, his work with the stylist Ray Petri encouraged him to work outside of fashion, leading to commissions to do store interiors for the likes of Joseph and Nicky Butler, and the sleeve designs for Janet Jackson’s massively successful album Control, and Duran Duran offshoot Arcadia. It’s very much an artistic record of 80’s new wave history.

He passed away too young, aged 31 in 1988, leaving a legacy of incredible work. Dean Rhys Morgan’s book is a beautiful celebration of a talent the likes of which come round all too infrequently.

Get it from Amazon here.

(and thanks to Emily!)

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