Amy Winehouse. There is no mistaking the look of the first model at Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture show Wednesday, the beehive hair and thick eyeliner, black skirt and brassiere visible under a white top.
“Amy Winehouse was a true style icon,” Gaultier told reporters backstage after a show conceived as a tribute to the soul singer, six months after her untimely death.
“What she stands for above all, is uniqueness. Both in music and the way she dressed, she mixed a great many influences” to create her style, he said.
Playing on the late star’s style, rooted in the 1950s and 1960s, Gaultier sent out corsets — a staple of his — as well as bustiers and layered brassieres, mixing bold colours with black.
The French designer took care to keep his tribute subtle — with nothing too literal — and Winehouse’s voice rang out only at the very end, blending with the sound of a cappella band on stage.
Stars lined the front row, from the grande dames of French cinema Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Rampling to the US rocker Beth Ditto, or RnB singer Shy’m.
Top models of the moment Karlie Kloss or Milagros Schmoll dazzled the room wrapped in hooded capes of billowing chiffon, or a suit matching asymmetric jacket and a man’s pinstriped pants — tailored to a woman’s curves.
Hand-crafted artistry was on ample display, like in the thousands of pieces of glitter embroidery on a violet-blue coat, worn over a pleated white skirt and plant-green top made entirely from sequins.
Purple pearl embroidery adorned a jacket, worn over an electric blue chiffon dress, while pointed-tipped bustiers were entirely embroidered with stones.
After the wedding dress — a corset-gown in powder pink — the models returned without their skirts, revealing the sophisticated lingerie underneath, with a black veil over the face like Spanish widows.
“It’s not a funeral,” smiled Gaultier afterwards. “They are happy brides.”