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Before Fierce: Remembering Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes

An Amazonian woman draped in exotic materials stands before him trying to change her pose as rapidly as the young artist finishes another drawing. His vibrant eyes move over the model capturing more than the newest fashion in which she is adorned; he is able to put on the page a bold and palpable as well.

When Viramontes worked, he did so in a fervor.

Frank Anthony Viramontes was born in Santa Monica, California to first generation Mexican parents. Having an artistic inclination at a young age, Tony drew everything from cheerleaders to matadors, finding himself enamored by their bright garments. His supportive parents would bring young Tony along to bullfights in nearby Tijuana where he developed an intense appreciation for elegant yet brash masculinity.

The way in which Tony would work in fashion illustration throughout his career was reminiscent of the toreador’s movements that he studied as a boy. Seizing the aggressive and energetic styles of the 1980’s came naturally to him. With the slashing stroke of his charcoal pencil, he was able to say more in the movement of his line than a photograph ever could.

80s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes

Tony Viramontes Fashion Illustration – October 1984 – “Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes”

Fashion illustration had its time in the limelight during the midcentury when the delicate and detailed works of René Bouché and Erté were swooned over by Vogue and Vanity Fair. These publications would continue to feature fashion illustrators but with the rising popularity of photography, the demand of drawings declined.

This did not stop Tony Viramontes from following his passion, however, and he moved from Santa Monica to New York to attend the famous Parsons School. After an important relocation to Paris, he quickly discovered commercial success and began work with a multitude of houses and publications.

He would go on to illustrate for such legends as Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as publications like Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Vogue Italia.

His collaborations were at the furthest edge of trending couture. He continued to push his artistic boundaries by collaging in his sketches with his photography to create striking and innovative new pieces.

Viramontes was not confined to the world of fashion and many of his most known pieces are for musicians. In 1986, he showed a new audience his talents by illustrating the cover art for Janet Jacksons’ album Control. Duran Duran listeners became familiar with his work as well when he did the illustrations for their album Arcadia.

Album Cover Arcadia - Duran Duran

Viramontes did not want to be pigeonholed into the simple title of “illustrator.” In personal works of portraiture, he stood apart as truly unique artist. In these pieces, Viramontes experimented with an androgynous style that the world had yet to see. Giving young, sculpted Adonic men a curl of snarky red lips combined with bejeweled adornments, he offered viewers a new take on masculinity.

When drawing women, Viramontes preferred to depict them with strong, angular faces and prominent noses. Often these beautiful women were shown with contorted expressions of rage rather than demure or natural looks. For both men and women, he challenged viewers by offsetting their perception of beauty within the confines of gender.

‘Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes’ by Dean Rhys Morgan and published by Laurence King Publishing, celebrates the artist’s work and life.

Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes 80s

THE FACE, SEPTEMBER 1985

Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes

WALTER SHUPFER BY TONY VIRAMONTES, RIGHT: THE FACE, SEPTEMBER 1985

80s fashion illustration and layouts Tony Viramontes

MIMI SHOT BY FASHION ILLUSTRATOR TONY VIRAMONTES

New York Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes

FROM THE BOOK “Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes”

Tony Viramontes, polaroids and Illustration 1980s

FROM THE BOOK “Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes”

Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes

Surrounding himself with the likes of Janice Dickinson, Naomi Campbell, and Paloma Picasso, muses were never in short supply (male or female), and he immersed himself in his art and as well as partying. Viramontes’ work represents an important, slightly hedonistic embracing of the wild.

His perfect portrayal of the excessive nightlife of the 1980s was a result of Tony Viramontes being a part of the glitterati, spending much of his time in the nightclubs of New York and Paris.

He, like many other young gay men of the 1980s, fell victim to the AIDS virus and died at the age of 33. The pain of losing such an immensely talented young man as Viramontes was not a loss felt just by his contemporaries.

Energy pulses in his work, each line flowing with movement and attitude. You can envision his hand rapidly sketching out eyes, hips—a ribbon of color. Because he, the models, and the era were all so present within his material, his images have a timeless quality that makes them immune to antiquation.

His influence reverberates continuously throughout fashion illustration as well as in the global artistic community.

The tides are turning in the 21st century and words like, transgender and homosexual are no longer whispered. Gay rights are finally moving in the right direction and what impact this will have on current and future artists can only be anticipated. If Tony Viramontes had not died so young, this certainly would be an exciting time for him. One cannot help but wonder what his career would be like if suddenly his striking images were seen by larger venues and recognized as the exciting triumphs they really were.

Viramontes_VAGA8

 ALBUM COVER  JANET JACKSON – CONTROL BY TONY VIRAMONTES

Cover for Janet Jackson Album

Janet Jackson Album Cover by Tony Viramontes

EARLY VIRAMONTES, A TWIN PORTRAIT OF RENE RUSS HIS FIRST MUSE.

Viramontes_VAGA10

‘Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes’ by Dean Rhys Morgan and published by Laurence King Publishing, celebrates the artist’s work and life. — words by Ashlee Girdner

More New York Artists
A Quiet Confidence – New York Master photographer: John Dugdale
BAST-ARDIZED – An interview with Brooklyn street artist Bäst

stephen-sprouse-1983-fashion-show

Meant for Beautiful People, Stephen Sprouse Collections

Mauricio and Roger Padilha of MAO PR are the co-authors of the best-selling “The Stephen Sprouse Book” by Rizzoli, 2009. Their affair with Stephen Sprouse started as a teenage love and continued through the decades. The two brothers are the owners of the largest collection outside of Stephen Sprouse’s personal archive.

Mauricio and Roger Padilha of MAO PR are the co-authors of the best-selling “The Stephen Sprouse Book” by Rizzoli, 2009. Their affair with Stephen Sprouse started as a teenage love and continued through the decades. The two brothers are the owners of the largest collection outside of Stephen Sprouse’s personal archive. –Interview by Natalie Kates

Natalie Kates: How did you start collecting Stephen Sprouse?

Roger Padilha: We grew up on Long Island and didn’t really have access to a lot of fashion. When I was 13 years old and Mauricio was 16, we were watching some TV News Channel and they showed a fashion show on Stephen Sprouse. We stole our parent’s credit card and went to Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan where we charged up a bunch of clothing. We got severely punished for it! That is really what started it. We saw the clothing and just needed to have it. It went beyond us wearing it; we bought women’s clothing, we bought clothing that was too small for us or too big for us, clothing that we would not be able to wear anywhere. We just wanted to have it. His clothing was artwork to us from the very beginning.

stephen-sprouse-1983-fashion-show

Stephen Sprouse Collection 1983 Fashion Show

Mauricio Padilha: For us Stephen Sprouse was a combination of everything that we liked. We loved Marilyn, Monroe, Andy Warhol and Debby Harry. Stephen put it all together and threw it back as fashion. He did day-glow clothing, things psychedelic, Warhol prints. We call Sprouse one of Warhol’s children because he came from that generation that came to New York, met Andy, inspired and worked with him. He was the first designer that Andy personally allowed to have prints made of his paintings onto clothing. Only today, through the foundation, do others use his prints. He is part of the reason why we came to New York and got into fashion.


NK: What year was this?

RP: 1984. When you see the clothing in person, it’s so vibrant, exciting and so well made. The clothing that you see here today in our collection is over 35 years old and still so luscious and wearable. You still look cooler than anyone in the room when you wear it. It’s timeless but very of the moment.


NK: It is also very relevant. Like you just touched on, it was one of the first artist/designer collaborations. Stephen was one of the firsts to blur the lines between art, fashion and music. We all grew up in the NY club scene and I remember seeing him out quite a bit. Were either of you friend’s with Stephen while he was alive?

RP: No and we actually stayed away from it. About 10 years ago, when Stephen was still alive, “The New York Times” wrote an article about our collection and Stephen saw it and decided he wanted to meet us. Shortly after, we were at a party and a mutual friend tried to introduce us. We actually bolted out of the party. We have met enough of our idols to know that if you meet someone and you don’t like them, you suddenly don’t like their artwork.

Stephen Sprouse 1984 Collection

Stephen Sprouse RTW Collection 1983

MP: Stephen’s art was everything to us. The clothes were more important than meeting the actual person. The funny thing is, now that we have worked with everyone who has worked with him (Debby Harry, Marc Jacobs, his family) and they’ve all said that he would have loved us and that he was such a nice guy. I now kind of regret not getting to meet him in person, but we are honored that we were the ones given his legacy to promote.

Stephen Sprouse 1988 Collection

Stephen Sprouse Collection RTW 1988 – New York Fashion Week


NK: How did the Rizzoli book deal come about?

RP: We had a small magazine called MAO Mag. in which we did an article on Stephen when he passed away. When he died we were actually very upset about the coverage of his death. All the obituaries mentioned the Louis Vuitton collaborations, the Bryant Park tents that he customized, his Diesel collaboration but they really didn’t talk about this amazing 25-year career. That was so much cooler than any of the commercial work he did the last year of his life. We wrote an article and basically showcased our collection, spoke to Kate Moss and Debby Harry who were some of his muses. The article focused on his impact. We received a call from his mother, Joanne Sprouse, who said of all the magazine articles that were written, that Stephen would have loved ours the best. She sent us a big box of cookies with this great note and a check for a $100.

sprouse-louis-vuitton-model-look

Stephen Sprouse x Louis Vuitton Agyness Deyn

MP: She asked for us to send her how ever many magazines $100 can buy because she wanted to save them for his nieces and nephews when they grew up. We of course sent her back the check and included a box of magazines. She called us and told us that there were two things that Stephen always wanted: one, he always wanted an exhibit of his work and two, he always wanted to have a book of his work. She said that if you ever feel like doing a book, I’ll let you do it and would give us an exclusive to the archives. We thought about it and decided a book is just like a magazine, which is what we were already doing. After five years passed, she called us again and we said we would definitely do it. We spoke to Jeffrey Deitch’s people and he decided to do an exhibit. Roger spoke to Marc Jacobs who agreed to re-release the collection he had done with Stephen so long as our book came out in 6 months. So, we rushed the book and completed it in half the time we had originally planned.

NEW YORK – CIRCA 1987: A model walks during Stephen Sprouse Fashion Show at New York Fashion Week 1987 in New York. (Photo by PL Gould/Image/Getty Images)

NK: How many pieces would you say that you have, including his accessories and shoes?
MP: At least 1,000 pieces. I have boxes and boxes in warehouses. We have 2 closets here in the showroom. We have bracelets, shoes, pieces made just for runway. Some are just art pieces while others are t-shirts and jeans. At one point we got crazy and would take anything that said Stephen Sprouse on it.

RP: What’s funny is after we did the book, Stephen’s mother said, “If there’s anything you want from the archives…” and we said, “We have enough.” [laughs].

sprouse-louis-vuitton

Stephen Sprouse x Louis Vuitton


NK: Stephen passed away in 2004 at 52 years old. It’s both poetic and sad that he found great success later on in his life. He collaborated twice with Marc Jacobs on Louis Vuitton’s Speedy bag that he defaced and instantly became an iconic collector’s piece.

MP: He was the first young designer that Target did a collection with. Before Stephen Sprouse there were no designers working for Target. He opened the doors up to everyone, like Peter Som and Jason Wu who are doing it today.

Stephen Sprouse Men's Clothing

RP: The great thing about Stephen was that he was a visionary. He was making clothing that was advanced by 25 years. The bad thing about Stephen is that he was making clothing that was 25 years too advanced. He was never really appreciated in his own time. There were certainly people in the club scene who were wearing his clothing. I wish he were alive today to look at Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s because all that stuff looks like Stephen Sprouse. Topshop looks like Stephen Sprouse from 1982. The genius of Stephen was that he was an artist and he was making things that we wanted 25 years before we realized we wanted it.

MP: He would never compromise. That’s one of the things that’s an essence of a true artist, which is what Stephen was.

MAO PR Private Collection

Part of MAO’s private Stephen Sprouse Collection


NK: Roger, what is your favorite Stephen Sprouse collection?

RP: Spring 1988. It was a camouflage collection loosely based on the Black Friday that had happened in 1988. It was very dark, skateboard punk. It was really longhaired, skinny models wearing day glow camouflage. They were real skater clothing: board shorts, blazers and tattoos but done up in silk and cashmere.

NK: Mauricio, what would your favorite collection be?

MP: Fall 1984. Basically that show was a rock concert. There were over 3000 people in attendance. It was held at the Ritz nightclub. There were huge speakers that the models were walking on while they were blasting. He had everyone from Terry Toy to the top models of the time. It was space age inspired. That show really solidified what his aesthetic was: rock n’ roll, outer space, and the 60’s. He put it all together and it came out perfect.

Debbie Harry in Stephen Sprouse Collection x Andy Warhol

Debbie Harry look Stephen Sprouse Andy Warhol collection


NK: Joanne Sprouse (Stephen’s mom) is overseeing the archive now and you guys most definitely have one of the largest collections aside from her. What do you hope will happen to your collection when you are gone so others can enjoy it and have his legacy live on?

RP: If anyone would like to purchase anything…. [Laughs].
MP: Ideally I’d love to sell it so it can be kept together and housed where it will be safe and where young people can come view it year after year. Unfortunately, a lot of museums (even with the book and the press) don’t see it as couture or as a very important time period for 80s fashion in New York. We always have stylists calling us for it. If it’s someone I know understands Sprouse’s aesthetic then I will let him or her have the collection. His clothes have attitude and museums don’t.
RP: I’m on the fence with it. Many of these notable museums and university archives have all this incredible clothing but no one has access to it. Basically the clothing gets stuck in a back room and no one gets to see them. Every now and then they pull out one or two pieces for an exhibition. I love to wear my Sprouse and I’d love to see people wearing it out. Clothing only has life with a human body in it. I think Stephen would love for people to wear it. It was meant for beautiful people to wear out to clubs, get drunk, smoke cigarettes and have sex with a stranger… and looking great and feeling fabulous doing it.

Social Permaculture, Landscaping the City

The concept of permaculture was defined in 1978 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Its origin is linked to the contraction of the words Permanent (in the sense of sustainable) and Agriculture. Permaculture landscaping is conceived as a discipline aiming to design sustainable environments in all its dimensions: social, economic and environmental.


To this end, permaculture landscaping designs are framed in three ethical principles: caring for the earth: preserving the soil, forests and water as necessary for the development of all living beings. Caring for people: which implies satisfying basic human needs. Distributing the surpluses: inviting the surplus to be reinvested in the system so there is no waste and, it is shared.

Urban Farms in NYC

This are some general guidelines on the complexity of developing sustainable permaculture landscapes for human environments in urban settlements:


Observe and interact: take nature as a reference, a large complex system of interrelationships, to create beneficial, integrated systems.

Capture and store resources: given the current use of non-renewable sources, it is ideal to develop smart and sustainable ways to generate and store resources that enable future generations to develop.

Get a return: Fruits must be generated by the engineered systems that guarantee survival without mortgaging the future.

Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: just as feedback works in nature, so it is possible to design self-regulated systems and ecosystems. 

Use and value green services and resources: Making the best use of natural and renewable abundance possible.  

Stop waste generation: and appropriately integrate every available resource within natural cycles. 

Develop patterns to details: it is possible to detect general patterns or motifs that can then be used as the backbone of our designs and implemented in the details. 

Use slow and small solutions: it is easier to maintain slow and small systems than large and fast ones, make better use of local resources and yield lasting results.

Permaculture landscaping is now being recover as another strategy for moving towards more livable cities with lower social and environmental costs.

As early as 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro: “The global sustainability battle will be won or lost in the cities.”

Now, permaculture landscaping adds to the concrete urban planning proposals for the creation of ecologically viable systems. They produce what is necessary to meet their own needs and those of the environment, and are sustainable in the long run.

Permaculture in the city - NYC Urban Farms


That is an ambitious challenge. Cities require a large number of inputs (energy, water, food, etc.) and also produce large quantities of waste (water, air pollution, garbage, etc.) The proposals are therefore diverse and range from local actions and specific to more extensive urban designs.

  • In the field of consumption and food, various cities are putting forward proposals, primarily aimed at prioritizing local and seasonal products or avoiding overpackaged products. Thus, there are numerous towns that have seen ecological gardens reappearing in their streets in recent years. And organic farming initiatives of increasing impact, as in Kathmandu City.


    permaculture-cities-landscaping-2

  • Another great challenge for the big cities is sustainable mobility. An example of this is the increasing use of bicycles in urban centers such as the recent Pikala Bikes project in the heart of Marrakech City. Pedestrianization of central areas of big cities or ambitious environmental bets such as Hamburg’s, which announced its decision to suppress car traffic within 20 years.

  • The use of renewable energies is another focus dimension of creative programs for many cities. For example, in Holland, ReGen Villages is being prepared, the first city to build clean energy and self-sufficiency to combat climate change. Or the “perma-cultural streets” proposed by the Anglo-Australian permaculture Geoff Lawton, which would be those conceived with a system of water redirection to green areas, with fruit trees or edible plants. With composting places and waste depositing, recycling or re-use for citizens.


    permaculture-cities-landscaping

  • As far as waste management is concerned, the current urban initiatives focus on recycling and reuse. Paris, for example, plans to build 100 hectares of gardens throughout the city by end of 2020, utilizing walls, facades and roofs. And it encourages the entire population to practice gardening under a number of conditions: to use organic practices, to avoid the use of toxic pesticides and to encourage biodiversity in the region.

The world’s main cities consume between 60 and 80 percent of electricity. Being responsible for 75 percent of carbon emissions, their patterns of industrial growth and consumption conflict with the limits of scarce natural resources.


In 2050 70 percent of human beings will inhabit urban centers, according to the United Nations, so making a city should be more oriented than ever towards establishing processes that make sustainable urban development possible.


Permaculture landscaping is about how to build sustainable settlements. It is a way of using land that incorporates microclimates, annual and seasonal plants, livestock, soils, water use and human needs, to create efficient and integrated communities.


And in architecture and urban design, permaculture can engage in perfect symbiosis to provide responses in urban centers to the needs of water, food, housing, energy, or society in a robust, sustainable manner. The satisfaction of basic human needs as a priority. Not only the plants are irrigated, but also the people, the neighborhoods and the cultures.

before-after-permaculture
Before & After Permaculture Landscaping – img source


See more about permaculture and off-the grid living.

How to Dress Like an Eboy, the Latest TikTok Fever

The latest trend in men’s fashion comes from the forthcoming TikTok social network. The eboy style may be guided towards a younger audience, but some features can be integrated into a more modern style. Here is how to dress like an eboy and stay current in 2020.


Typically, the eboy look is characterized by its emo-influenced appearance. The looks have skater-boy, goth, as well as, a ton of influences coming from k-pop style, 90s grunge, 2000s normcore to Billie Eilish—and her recent “Bad Guy” song. Finishing off things with strikingly dyed hair and graphic makeup that often featured a little heart or teardrops under the eyes.

Johnny Depp Cry Baby John Waters 90s movie
Johnny Depp Cry Baby John Waters 90s movie

There are many examples of eboy types in Hollywood and popular culture. From Johnny Depp’s impersonation of Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker in John Waters 1990 cult movie Cry Baby50’s rockabilly way— to ‘softboy-of-the decade’ Timothée Chalamet.

Essentially, a good eboy outfit includes Thrasher T-shirts—and alik—worn over longsleeves, Vans, wallet chains, and black nail polish. Eboys are basically gothic, but they’re not made fun of as much as someone who calls himself goth because their looks are seen by girls nowadays as cool.


Looking at how eboys dress, it also seems obvious that what comes next is simply more skater, urban, Supreme-ish style, this time tightly wrapped up in some skinny jeans, mismatched pieces and nail polish. All in order to create a casual look that isn’t that casual at all.

how to dress like an eboy necklaces layer stripes chains


It seems that many high-end designers agree as some of the largest New York City, London or Paris retailers reams of clothing that look like grown-up updates to eboy apparel. You’ll see design teams at brands like Off-White, Celine, Rick Owens, Alexander Wang or Jacquemus testing the eboy look for 2020. 

Here is an overview on how to dress like an eboy and keep on with current trends on your 20s (or 30s…)

  1. Layering, Stripes, plaid joggers. Clashing is an essential part of the eboy look. Every combination of colors works so long as you know how to layer.  Wearing at least more than two jackets, the whole point of the eboy outfit is to look as unfit as it can.


  2. Chains. You can either use it as a choker, wear it as a bracelet, wear it as an earring, use it as a belt around your pants. It is a decorative element as well as functional for every eboy look.

    how-to-dress-like-an-eboy-nails-chains
  3. Androgynous, unisex, gender-neutral aesthetic. This is maybe one of the most interesting parts of the eboy look. The aesthetic is soft and feminine as possible whilst still maintaining the air of the skater, urban guy.

    how-to-dress-like-an-eboy-necklaces-layer-nail-polishhow to Dress like an Eboy - Hair
  4. Black Nail polish. Get some nice black nail polish but don’t go crazy or too weird.  Chipped manicure, looking like you don’t care, but you do, is part of the main ingredients of the eBoy look.
  5. Shoes. You’d need the perfect pair of shoes to complete your outfit. Leave your shoes loose enough so it’ll untie itself as you’re walking down the street. You don’t really care that much. (images @alexgianola at Tiktok)

    alexgianolatiktok @tiktok

    how-to-dress-like-an-eboy-necklaces-layering-stripes

    The classic Vans, Doc Martens, ankle-high boots and, of course,  Converse All-Stars a forever stylish shoe you can find everywhere, but they’re also a signature of the eboy wardrobe.

    how-to-dress-like-an-eboy-necklaces-layer

    TikTok LuvAnthony

For some more visual inspiration on how to dress visit men’s style editorials.