Jean Paul Gaultier's latest couture collection was, says the designer, inspired by Amy Winehouse. Models sported drawn-on versions of Winehouse's beauty spot, signature winged eyeliner, and beehive hair. And Gaultier's collection shows the influence of some of the late singer's style, given her propensity for pencil skirts, preppy-looking colors, wide belts, and other Rockabilly-type touches (although sadly none of Gaultier's models wore ballet flats, another sartorial choice Winehouse was known for).
The family of the singer is reportedly upset by the tribute. Mitch Winehouse told The Sun tabloid, "We're still grieving for her loss, and we've had a difficult week with the six month anniversary of Amy's death. To see her image lifted wholesale to sell clothes was a wrench we were not expecting or consulted on." Gaultier apparently never met the singer while she was alive. Nonetheless, as much as Winehouse was beloved as an individual by her family, she was adored as an icon by millions. Fashion designers reference the style of many influential people who died too young in tragic circumstances — think of Princess Diana's "Elvis" dress, or every Marilyn Monroe magazine photo shoot ever conceived, to name just a couple — and Winehouse's style as a public figure was widely imitated and admired. She even earned a namesake clothing line. It would significantly hamper designers' creative expression if they had to consult with, or obtain the permission of, the estates of deceased fashion icons they found inspirational. Still: it would have been a classy move to invite Winehouse's family to the show, and to make a donation to the charitable foundation established in Winehouse's memory. Even if her parents had ultimately decided to refuse it.
Things the collection showcased well: Gaultier's impeccable sense of color. Combinations that would look tacky (orange lace over black underwear) or Rainbow Brite-silly in other designers' hands, he made look polished and vibrant.
There was also plenty of pink.
One of the nice things about the couture season is that the models are often encouraged to throw a little personality into their walks.
Karlie Kloss looked like she was having so much fun with that jacket removal, I had to include her twice.
I loved the fold-over clutch purses. And I might just have to try matching my nails to my handbag sometime soon. (By the way, if you'd like to learn how to make a somewhat similar clutch, I did a DIY tutorial here.)
There were also some more subdued looks.
And some examples of the sharp, but extravagant, tailoring for which Gaultier is known.
And on the left there, by the way, is the famously androgynous male model Andrej Pejic. Pejic has walked for Gaultier, and even fronted one of the designer's campaigns, before.
And this white dress? So signature Gaultier. Wearable? Possibly not, except perhaps by Kylie Minogue while on tour. But gorgeous and exciting, not to mention impeccably constructed? Yes.