Statements from the fashion community on the death of Amy Winehouse run thin this morning, two days after she was found dead in her London apartment. Winehouse stopped short of solidifying her place as a fashion icon, though not long after the 2006 release of her album Back to Black, she was Karl Lagerfeld's muse for a December 2007 Chanel show, in which all the models wore her signature beehive hairdo. But she remained too absent from the scene to become a fixture in that holy sphere of fashion's influentials. (At risk of invoking the obvious example, Lady Gaga has been and continues to be photographed nearly every day wearing something distinct, to say the least.) Indeed, writer Lisa Armstrong criticized the industry in 2008 for trying to make Winehouse a fashion icon, considering how unwell she was: "Somehow the fashion industry has got it into its head that what's really missing from every stylish woman's life is an accessory that will make her look like someone whose next must-have is an intravenous drip." Still, Armstrong could not deny that Winehouse had a look that worked for her, and that rare thing is what fashion loves.
Today, WWD opens a story on the 27-year-old Winehouse's death by noting she "was never going to be an enduring inspiration to the world of fashion." Karl Lagerfeld, at the time of his Winehouse-inspired Chanel show, said, "She's a style icon." Shortly after that show, Winehouse performed at the opening of a Fendi store, where the fickle Lagerfeld sang her praises again: "She’s not only a muse; she’s a genius. She’s one of the greatest voices today."
Following her death, Fendi emailed a statement to WWD:
"We met Amy in Paris, fresh from having won five Grammys. That night, everyone discovered that in addition to a genius voice Amy also had an exceptional and very British sense of humor. 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 .’ We are very sad for the loss of such a unique talent that in many ways transcended music, fashion, and culture."
One of the last substantial fashion magazine features on Winehouse ran in the November 2010 issue of Harper's Bazaar. The magazine, seemingly out of frustration, gave a surprisingly candid account of how Winehouse couldn't answer basic interview questions without slurring, pose for photos, or walk straight. The point of the story was that Winehouse had a clothing line coming out with Fred Perry. She told the magazine, somewhat nonsensically, "We've pretty much done like up to autumn/winter 2012." Winehouse was photographed not long before her death wearing a Fred Perry polo. It's unclear what will happen to her collection for the brand now.
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT [WWD]