It’s not often that Popdust dips its blogging tendrils into the parallel world of high fashion unless it’s got a big name like Lady Gaga or Kanye West involved. Amy Winehouse also qualifies as a big name; problem is, she passed away earlier this year under unfortunate circumstances. This alone makes the prospect of an Amy Winehouse-themed fashion show, like Paris’s show yesterday by Jean-Paul Gaultier, rather dicey–and we’re not the only ones to think so; The Independent identified a “palpable sense of unease.” But even if you grant the point that Winehouse, during the height of her fame, was known as much for her style as her music, and even if you grant The New York Times’ point that Gaultier’s “[someone] for whom borderline bad taste is stock in trade” or, from that same article, Gaultier’s argument that his was a “joyous” tribute….
1) “Back to Black,” which scored part of the show, is a song about a crushing breakup at best and full-blown depression at worst. Yes, its Mark Ronson production galumphs along at a runway-ready tempo, but that production’s supposed to sound deflated, the sort of track just off enough to accompany lyrics like “I died a hundred times” and “life’s a pipe, and I’m a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside.” Meanwhile, “Rehab” might be Winehouse’s biggest hit, but it’s almost impossible to play live without the undertones being wrong–she didn’t in fact go to rehab, no, no, no, and the self-deprecation only works if Winehouse’s doing it herself. If there’s a way to get the tone right otherwise, a barbershop quartet isn’t it.
2) Shouldn’t a fashion show scored to “Back to Black” at least feature all-black everything? I counted one all-white dress, lots of black-and-white, some gold, some red, a prominently pink number that’s not entirely far off from Katy Perry….
3) That part at the end with the woman dressed as Winehouse (to be fair, they all were) in a veil, and with Gaultier kissing her. Or all the veils, really, or the burlesque overtones, or the cigarette smoking. For a tribute, this looks much more like glamorizing Winehouse’s death.
4) Why is Jean-Paul Gaultier scoring for other musicians when Gotye exists? OK, this is mainly because his name is pronounced like “Gaultier,” but this is when he’s breaking out, and “Easy Way Out” would make good backing, no? Certainly less uncomfortable.