By now most of the world has heard the news that the 27 club has gained a new member in Amy Winehouse. While this talented, young singer may never get the chance to make the comeback we were all rooting for, her talent and bold sartorial choices will go on to inspire generations of young women for as long as the Internet still stands. Since we have already covered the life, times, and brief career of Amy Winehouse, I’ll skip the pleasantries and get straight to the fashion.
Before exploring 50’s and 60’s girl groups sounds in her Back to Black album, Amy dressed like any other recording star on the rise in her late teens. As evidenced by the album covers for Frank and Back to Black, Amy’s early style was quite tame compared to what it would eventually evolve into. Her dark hair didn’t even have the crown fullness of Snookie’s pouf and her eyeliner had yet to reach Cleopatra-like proportions. Somewhere between the 2003 release Frank and the 2006 release of Back to Black Amy fell in love with duwop and embraced the style of women like Etta James and Ronnie Spector, or Veronica Bennett as she was known during her days with The Ronnettes.
Instead of carbon copying the style of 50’s and 60’s icons, Amy added her own spin on things and came up with a look reminiscent of a character from a John Waters flick complete with skyscraper hair and Tracy Lords like body con outfits. To accessorize her modern girl group member meets pin-up girl style, Amy seemingly used an entire pot of MAC fluidline to draw an exaggerated cat eye that would make Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra make-up artist jealous. On top of the over the top beehive, that sometimes sported a white streak or two, the drape like outfits, and the eyeliner that launched one thousand make-up tutorials, Amy made sure to show off her impressive and always growing collection of ink. Amy Winehouse’s distinctive style was so innovative and in demand that she was asked to collaborate on a 17-piece collection with the Fred Perry label which hit stores in October 2010.
Years after Amy’s “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” put her on the map stateside, girls are still embracing the modern pin-up look, piling on the eyeliner, and pulling inspiration from Amy’s muses. While her look may have inspired a fad that died out the minute she began to give in to her self-destructive drug habit, the true legacy of Amy Winehouse’s style is in showing her fans that it is okay to be who you are. From Adele and Duffy who benefited from Amy taking the soul revival mainstream and making a way for them to move from the UK to the US, to Lady Gaga who credited Winehouse with making it easier for non-Britney pop stars to have mainstream success, down to the girl next door experimenting with her make-up, we all can learn a thing or two about expressing ourselves from Ms. Winehouse.
- Amy Winehouse – Listen Now!!
- Exhibit: Amy Winehouse – A Family Portrait
- Rumors: Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry
- We Got The Beat: New Video for Amy Winehouse’s “Just Friends” Track
- R.I.P – Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)