The most memorable of this week's Spring 2012 couture shows was undoubtedly Jean Paul Gaultier's homage to Amy Winehouse. The irreverent French designer sent Winehouse lookalikes, complete with beehive hair, swipes of black eyeliner and the occasional cigarette, down the Paris runway with the singer's signature bluesy voice wafting through the speakers.
Gaultier intended the collection as a wholly literal take, telling Women's Wear Daily, "I think Amy Winehouse was truly a fashion icon" whose style has failed to be honored by magazines since her July 2011 death.
But Winehouse's family did not appreciate the sentiment. The Sun reports today that Mitch Winehouse, Amy's father, expressed displeasure at Gaultier's unauthorized use of his daughter's image and memory.
"The family was upset to see those pictures, they were a total shock," said Mitch, according to the Sun. With the family marking the six-month anniversary of Amy's tragic passing just this week, Mitch noted, "to see her image lifted wholesale to sell clothes was a wrench we were not expecting or consulted on."
Her father also added:
We're proud of her influence on fashion but find black veils on models, smoking cigarettes with a barbershop quartet singing her music in bad taste."
Attendees of the show were perceptive enough to suspect the same. Women's Wear Daily pointed out that the show "felt at best ill-advised: a young woman who died tragically less than a year ago the fodder for an oh-so-feisty fashion show."
Some of Amy's friends agreed. Kelly Osbourne tweeted, "Although @JPGaultier was paying homage to my dear friend & icon to the world i found it to be lucratively selfish and distasteful!"
Surely Gaultier did not intend any offense. But one would think that with such sensitive material, the designer would have consulted the family. But when asked backstage, Gaultier admitted that he had never even met Amy but simply thought that their "styles had always been similar," according to AP.
See photos from the runway below. Do you think such a literal take on the fallen crooner's style was in poor taste or simply a celebratory homage?