Gaultier divides critics with Amy Winehouse fashion show
Big beehives, black veils and smoking models attract opposing views at Paris haute couture
DOES Jean Paul Gaultier's latest collection, inspired by Amy Winehouse, perfectly capture the high street zeitgeist or make for uncomfortable viewing? Fashion critics cannot agree.
Heavy eyeliner, big beehive hairdos and pencil skirts dominated Gaultier's spring/summer 2012 haute-couture show in Paris yesterday. Models strutted down the catwalk smoking cigarettes and wearing black veils to a live barbershop quartet performing Winehouse songs such as Rehab and Back to Black.
Cathy Horyn at the New York Times says the designer evoked Winehouse's "chaotic essence in a marvelous show", adding that the singer is "a good muse for a couturier who seeks to dress individual women".
Belinda White at The Daily Telegraph believes that, as a spectacle and a tribute, "Gaultier did Amy proud... Walk up any high street, even now, and everywhere you'll see girls riffing on her style signatures: cropped, skinny jeans; ballet pumps; tiny shirts knotted at the waist; sexy pencil skirts, and scarves tied jauntily in their hair."
So six months after Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in her London flat at the age of 27, was this, as White suggests, a case of her memory being "toasted in the most fashionable way imaginable"?
"No, no, no!" cries Susannah Frankel at The Independent. "Jean Paul Gaultier's tribute to Amy Winehouse hits all the wrong notes.
"The uniform of the dominatrix – rubber trousers, fishnets and underwear as outerwear – in this instance appeared more Soho sex shop than French couture salon." It made for uncomfortable if not plain confusing viewing, said Frankel.
Gaultier's tribute was clearly well-intentioned and his use of colour was sensational in places, she says, but "this was not his most accomplished collection by any stretch of the imagination" and even "gave rise to a palpable sense of unease".
JPG himself chose the word "joyous" to describe the show. "To me the scandal is that no fashion magazine did an Amy Winehouse cover," he told the New York Times.