Fashion Icon Moment: With Retro Queen Amy Winehouse!

I’ve gone Back To Black after hearing that the fashion icon, and musically talented Amy Winehouse died Saturday July 23, 2011. This retro queen shocked the nation last weekend, because it seemed like an unfair deal. Since 2006 we’ve been drawn to the bumping beats and sultry retro rhythm that intertwined through her voice. And in a blink of an eye she was gone and still no new developments on what happened.

At sixteen I remember seeing the You Know I’m No Good (video) on VH1 and wanting to know who she was and what else she sang. Her music touched my entire class of 2008 we were in tuned to her style since 2006. But we had no idea she was going to go through half of the stuff she went through.

 Growing up as a teenager you get attached to certain music/musicians and trends. Her song “Rehab” was one of those songs that fluttered through my art high school hallways. We loved the Back To Black album and at the time discussed who she was before the tabloid stories broke out. The headlines haven’t been easy to read because they shatter the other side of who she was as an artist. Amy showed signs of true talent by reigning on top of the music charts all while developing a new genre few heard of. This promising queen of retro soul was destined to take over the music world yet sadly went through the difficult hurdles it brings.

 At an early age I was always involved in music. I considered the music artists from the 1960’s the best age in music. Because they had a lot of fun and there wasn’t any hoopla over a burning electric guitar. They took music as an art form and posed it as a god given talent, and created songs you won’t ever forget. Many didn’t look at it as a paycheck and let’s be honest the lyrics was defiantly out of this world. I adore the different artists that stroked through the 1960’s. Since Amy was influenced by the 1960’s you have to wonder why this time period?

 Well in the 1960’s you had a lot of soul music, hippies, rock/roll, folk, psychedelics and all of the above. You had The Animals, The Monkees, The Velvet Underground, and of course The Beetles. You can’t forget The Rolling Stones, The Turtles, Joan Baez, The Who,  and Jefferson Airplane. As well as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and The Doors.

These artists shook the Isle of Wright festivals, Woodstock and The Hollywood Bowl by selling out many concerts. It was a surge of music energy which designed some of the most memorable singers to date.  But the style of the 1960’s created a frenzy of fringe garments, leather pants, funky vests and the occasional Diana Ross wig. It was a decade of Mad Men glam and inspirational changes.

 That time period played an important part into Amy’s classic fashion esthetic. But she added a lot of wildish edge to her on stage persona. The beehive hair and cat-eye outlines stayed with you. She created an even more shocking persona with her classic pin-up girl tattoos and Monroe piercings.

Overall the tight vintage dresses paired with the hoop earrings and Fuck Me pumps showed us how eccentric she really was. The most amazing thing about her was her realness. She admitted to letting her songs speak the truth. And they did most of her songs dealt with heartbreak, lost, and love she would occasionally add a little pop of fun to them.

 The art community lost a great soul that was a little broken but extremely mind-blowing. Yet her style will forever live on. She teamed up with a British brand Fred Perry in October 2010. They created such funky items for the brand, like the polo shirts, sleeveless pattern dresses and belted skirts.

This collection was still developing yet the fate of collection is still being determined.

The retro vibe skipped across her performances and carried a sense of newness. Her backup dancers were divine with soul and the horned instruments and bumping cotton club beats was unlike anything I heard of.

With music today it’s the opposite which means it’s a little tasteless. The dosage of Auto tune voices and bad club beats, mixed with weak lyrics isn’t my thing. If it wasn’t for Adele this year I would have had to go back eight years ago when music made some sense. But I’m not against some of these auto-tune artists, it’s what sells. I’m just into originality and authenticity and in my mind Amy showed us that. At times she was a little too authentic yet other times she showed us beauty and a glimmer of newness.

 Over the years I’ve stayed in tuned to the latest on Amy Winehouse. Even though she joined the 27 club way too fast, it’s heartbreaking and a bit surreal. For years I believed she’ll pull through and create another dazzling album yet it will never happen. But hopefully they’ll release her unreleased tracks she made. This musical moment shook me as well as others that Saturday, and will continue to shake us.

 Therefore her music and style will play a big part in our society as the years roll on. I will always love Amy’s songs and her taste in fashion, but I feel like music will never be the same again without her. She was a rare commodity and it will take maybe another 40 years till we see another talent like her.  Amy Winehouse was the Janis Jolpin of our time and they will continue to sing us a stylish new tunes.

Rest In Peace Amy & Janis!

 ~Brittany J.

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