Born: Bradford, England, 1945. Education: Studied at Bradford School of Art and the Royal College of Art, 1965-68. Career: Designer, Stirling Cooper, 1968-74; Che Guevera Plaza, 1974-79; formed own company incorporating Plaza, 1979; opened boutiques in London. Address: 15 Cranmer Road, London SW9 6JE, England.
Yates, Paula, "Glamour at A. Price," in Cosmopolitan (London),April 1981.
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Webb, Ian R., "Price," in Blitz (London), April 1987.
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"The Price of Stardom," in Vogue (London), August 1988.
Bell, Jaki, "Anthony Price," in DR: The Fashion Business (London),10 February 1990.
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"Some Leading Designers and Influencers of Sixties Fashions," available online at www.sixtiescity.velnet.com , 2001.
"Anthony Price," from the Biography Resource Center, Gale Group,2001.
Anthony Price, who designs glamorous clothes for glamorous people, was born during the swan song of Hollywood's starstruck years. The last great screen goddesses loomed large in suburban theatres, with scarlet lips and arched eyebrows under pompadour hairstyles—their square shoulders emphasized wasp waists and shapely hips swathed in pleated lamé. By the time Price was attending the fashion course at London's Royal College of Art in the mid-1960s, these celluloid masterpieces of noir sex-kitsch were daytime television oddities. The shapely heroines gliding across the screen could not have been further removed from the London Twiggies in their flared Courréges-style minidresses. It was the old-style glamor of these magical, sassy sirens—as embodied by Rita Hayworth—that inspired Price then and continues to do so today.
Soon the golden boy at Stirling Cooper, Price designed clothes to fit and flatter: his skin-tight snakeskin tailoring found its way onto the backs of the Mick Jagger and Dave Clark. A fortuitous association with Roxy Music and their elegant front man, Bryan Ferry, led Price to design stage sets and costumes, as well as album covers, considered classics of their time.
Producing successful commercial ranges for Che Guevera and Plaza, icon fashion labels of the day, Price laid claim to inventing the ubiquitous cap-sleeved t-shirt, flatteringly cut for muscle appeal, and suggestively revealing trousers. While designing largely for men, Price's clothes nevertheless had a contemporary unisex attraction. Price's personal style emerged in his King's Road, Chelsea, shop—a starlet's fitting room of celestial blue and gold, with scalloped 1930s-style vases spilling luxuriant flowers. No clothes rails here—garments were displayed on boards like sculptures in a gallery. In his South Molton Street shop, the Price style came to a baroque climax in a crescendo of dove gray velvet drapes, gilt-framed mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and golden scallop-shell fauteuils.
From hipster to couturier, Price's client list read like a who's who of pop and fashion stars: Duran Duran, Annie Lennox, Lucy Ferry, Joan Collins, and Jerry Hall. He also forayed into royal territory, designing for the Duchess of York's Canadian tour. Price's love of camp cabaret culminated in unforgettable party shows, each a stunning revue of set pieces staged in front of his own gold monogrammed velvet cinema curtains.
Price's gowns were also remarkable, not just for the way they looked, but for the way they were made. Attaining the Hollywood hourglass silhouette in these uncorseted days necessitated built-in structure, and his clothes became intricate masterpieces of boning and interfacing beneath the silks and taffetas. His wide-shouldered men's suits, with their narrow waists and snakelike hips, were equally flattering and apt to attract and allure.
Only a true craftspersons could produce such collectable apparel for his devoted clients. Price once told a student audience that his pattern-cutting skills stemmed from his days as a dry-stone waller in his native Yorkshire. Price most certainly is that rare animal, a designer of unparalleled flair who can also cut, drape, and sew. He cuts his own patterns, mathematically piecing together intricate toiles on his secret system of client-shaped dummies. Practical in many ways, Price is as likely to be found rewiring his studio or laying down the law on the cultivation of the exotic Gunnera Manicata as cutting an evening gown.
His clients, transformed by sculptured curves into beings from a higher plane, may walk with the well-postured assurance that springs only from the knowledge that one is clothed by a master of his craft.
When he's not designing, Price spends his time as a socialite, hobnobbing with the likes of Hollywood's celebrities, Britain's high society, and the fashion industry's best. From 1996 to 1998, Price never missed a single London Fashion Week annual event. In 1996 Price was noticeable at Philip Treacy's hat show; in 1997, dressed in his a Diorish waistcoat and hat, Price attended the launch party for "Forties Fashion and the New Look." The show, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the New Look, was a star-studded event. "It was the most revolutionary fashion statement this century," Price commented. "People wanted to go out the next day and throw their clothes away. As an exercise in commercial design it was the best. It was like a number one hit album, it was beyond the Spice Girls."
By 1998 London Fashion Week was focused more on practicality than the usual outrageousness. Rather than only adhering to their creative desires, designers were concerned with cost and the need to sell their garments. Shows were better organized and designs more. Reflecting on the trend away from the outlandish to the more subdued, Price admitted to the Independent, "Putting on a catwalk show is like asking the world to a fantastic party and spending the next five years paying it off."
—Alan J. Flux;
updated by Kimbally Medeiros