Passed, Present: In Death, Fashion Loves Amy Winehouse Again

July 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse looked a bit like a gap-toothed Dita Von Teese in 2004, before the tattoos, tabloids and addictions got the best of her. But that’s not when Chanel demigod Karl Lagerfeld dubbed her “the new Brigitte Bardot.” He praised her ’60s-stray-sex-kitten look in 2007, sending a collection of flouncy dresses and beehives down a runway at a London show.

She embodied real-life heroin chic, and Lagerfeld wrongly glamorized that. But the fashion industry is fickle. While it forgives addiction, if the avant-garde turns to “enfant terrible,” designers dump muses like players do in Winehouse’s early hit “F*** Me Pumps.”

In death, fashion loves Amy again.

Like other members of rock’s cursed 27 club (Cobain, Joplin, Morrison), dying at 27 transforms her into an icon in both music and fashion. She’ll thrive in celebrity lore, avoiding the relative anonymity in which Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple live in years after they won Grammys. Amy’s fans will memorialize her 20-some tracks and mimic her fashion senselessness, too.

Decades from now, girls will talk about Amy as we do Janis. Designers will cite her “genius.” The beehive will be Amy’s trademark, not Brigitte’s.

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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