With a look Karl Lagerfeld describes as “Brigitte Bardot with black hair,” a voice Jessica Alba finds reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and a lifestyle slammed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as “a coke-snorting fashionista,” there’s definitely something about Amy.
This story first appeared in the April 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Britain’s most-wanted party girl has become fashion’s favorite muse. And like her music, the 24-year-old’s style influence is everywhere, from the heavy eye makeup at Bottega Veneta to the messy beehives at Michael Kors.
Her retro soul music provided the soundtrack for the Comme des Garçons show and the highlight of Paris Fashion Week, when the songstress, donning a black Fendi dress (with obligatory bra showing), sang live at the launch of the label’s new-look Avenue Montaigne flagship.
“I hope she won’t not show up at the last minute,” Lagerfeld confided before the curtain raised. “There’s no guarantee, you know. That’s what I like about her.”
But after a prolonged drumroll that drew out the suspense, Winehouse’s flawless delivery of hits such as “Rehab,” “Valerie” and “Back to Black” wooed an audience that included Kanye West, Rihanna, the Olsen twins, fashion mogul Bernard Arnault (with his entire clan) and Silvia Venturini Fendi.
“Forgive my ignorance, because I know nothing about fashion,” Winehouse declared. “How long does fashion week last? Is it really a week?” The industry’s infatuation with the singer, who’s rumored to be launching a clothing line, looks set to last.
“Music and fashion have always had a long-standing relationship,” opined Jade Jagger, who’s been a fan of the songstress and her distinctive style since she first saw her play in a London pub. “She always manages to look good.”
“Whatever she puts together works,” agreed Claudia Schiffer.
And while Winehouse, who has been known to spit on past audiences, displayed million-dollar behavior for Fendi, the party only got ugly when guests were turned away from a packed concert room. “This sucks,” said Milla Jovovich, who was refused entry.
“There was a big fight at the door,” said Lou Doillon. “So maybe next time. I mean, good for her, really.”
The lucky ones who did get in couldn’t stop singing her praises.
“She’s not only a muse, she’s a genius,” lauded Lagerfeld. “She’s one of the greatest voices today.”
“She’s amazing,” swooned Mary-Kate Olsen as she headed backstage with sister Ashley.
“Just awesome,” declared Rihanna.
“I love Amy,” offered West.
But despite endless accolades from her peers and a standing ovation, the pint-size soulstress seemed to wonder what the hoopla was all about.
“Thanks for asking me to play,” said Winehouse as she exited stage left once and for all, adding, “whoever asked me to play.”