23 July 2012

One Year On From Amy Winehouse's Death, We Remember The Singer's Iconic Style

On the anniversary of her death, Grazia Daily remembers Amy Winehouse's personal style, both on and off stage, that was as distinctive as her husky voice and trademark Sixties sound.

The singer, who died in July 2011 aged only 27, was unlike other mainstream pop stars who tend to work with a variety of stylists and photographers or chop and change their style continually. Amy always looked herself. She started off with a fairly ‘normal girl’ look in 2005, with her debut album ‘Frank’ but her habitual style - tight mini-dress + black mane back-combed and blousy topped off with black eyeliner, red lippy and gold creole earrings - soon morphed into something unmistakably her own.

In 2007, when Amy hit the headlines with the publicity for her second album 'Back to Black', her reinvention was complete. Her hair was now a towering ‘Ronettes’ style beehive, the eyeliner had reached indelible levels and her style had become consistent. There were endless mini-dresses with waist cinching belts, worn with stilettos (or ballet pumps for off-duty), always a bright, push-up bra on show, and elaborate hair ornaments, from red roses and a heart-shaped badge for her then husband, Blake Fielder-Civil to printed bows and cocktail umbrellas, as she sported for her Glastonbury 2008 performance [see below]. 

Amy was photographed so many times in Fred Perry polo shirts (which she nearly always paired with skinny jeans or cut-off denim shorts) that the British sportswear brand went into business with her, bringing out a capsule collection under her name. The collaboration was faultless and the portraits for the publicity are among the nicest of the singer, who publically went through troubled patches under the paparazzi gaze.

The singer's tattoos were another of her trademarks, and one that many youngsters have since emulated. They were in a Fifties style, to match her hair and make-up - a horseshoe, dedications to her Dad, her late grandmother Cynthia, and Blake, as well as a naked pin-up girl (which she was forced to draw an eyeliner bra on for a U.S television appearance at the Grammys).

When Amy stood trial for allegedly assaulting a woman at a charity ball, she scrubbed up her usual style with smart white shirts and an elegant grey suit, with the ballet pumps still firmly in place. And she brought some quirkiness to the courtroom when wearing a floral-print mini-dress with peep-toe nude heels.

amy winehouse karl lagerfeld

As we reported when the news broke, the Brit's distinctive style saw her emerge as a fashion darling. Here she is with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Bernard Arnault and Karl Lagerfeld at the Fendi store opening in February 2008, when she sung for the fashion crowd. 'That night, everyone discovered that in addition to a genius voice, Amy also had an exceptional and very British sense of humour,' a Fendi spokesperson told WWD of the occassion. 'Having restyled the Fendi dress she was wearing that night, she said with a wink: 'Forgive my ignorance; I don't know anything about fashion…'

Mr Lagerfeld even named Amy his muse, sending beehived models down his Chanel catwalk in December 2007 [above] while Jonathan Kelsey designed the 'Amy' shoe in her honour.

After her death, Jean Paul Gaultier presented a couture collection in January 2012 that was a homage to the troubled singer. To a rousing rendition of Rehab, a parade of Amy-a-likes sauntered down the catwalk sporting low-cut shirts and sequinned pencil skirts with baseball jackets. Her father, Mitch, called it 'offensive' while Kelly Osbourne, one of Amy's close friends, described it as 'lucratively selfish and distasteful'.

One thing's for sure: there won’t be another one like her.


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