The Report: Amy Winehouse as a Fashion Icon

The Report is a blog series created to showcase the Festival's Fashion Writing finalists. Writers are sent to Arts, Ideas and Independent Runway events, to take a closer look at the diverse program beyond the runway, and explore fashion that takes us to galleries, stage, screen and more.

Maria is a freelance writer particularly interested in the arts – modern, contemporary, economics of culture – and fashion, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Regional Studies and Arts in English, German of the Moscow State Linguistic University, and studies Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne.

Maria always strives to new knowledge, and her work and volunteer experiences in the arts field, international relations and corporate companies have led her to the understanding that the arts are a soft-power capable of uniting diversity.

Signature beehive hair, cat eyes, tattoos, 50s-inspired style, lyrics dedicated to inner insecurities, relationships and family, an incredibly vulnerable and talented personality – it's all about her – Amy Winehouse. She may have been not the most polished celebrity but her unique style and aesthetic have transformed the arts industry, as well as the lives of her admirers all over the world. Melbourne is definitely not an exception, where ‘A Family Portrait and the Beehive Fashion Market, supported by the Jewish Museum Australia, will take place as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Arts program (1-18 March 2018).

Initially curated by the Jewish Museum London together with Amy’s brother, Alex and her sister-in-law, Riva, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is an unprecedented exhibition, which provides the audience with the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Winehouse’s inner world, learn about her Jewish-London roots, and delve into her record collection, famous guitar and, of course, iconic outfits.

Entering the exhibition, you encounter Amy’s aspirations and style. Her outfits in wardrobe-style cases reflect and embrace the artist’s bright, fragile and brave-on-the-brink personality, as well as her desire to be seen and accepted. Photographs, hanging down from the ceiling, capture Amy’s kindness and love towards her family, especially her grandmother, Cynthia, whose style and opinion Amy valued the most.

The artist’s ‘screaming’ outfits and accessories, inspired by the 1950s, deserve a precise attention, as they defined Winehouse’s distinctive style and highly artistic, troubled soul.

A sneak-peak: yes, that blue sequinned dress, which Amy wore at her scandalous appearance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2008, when she attacked the fan, who insulted her husband Blake, can be found at the exhibition as well.

Amy Winehouse has proven that being a fashion icon is not about ‘looking good’ or promoting particular brands, it is about a personality and a life approach. Undoubtedly, Amy Winehouse was an undeniable head-turning personality, with the capital ‘P’, whose influence has gone beyond pop-culture, and transformed the artist into a role model.

In celebration of Amy Winehouse as a style icon, the Jewish Museum Australia together with ‘How Two Live’ – launched in 2012 by Australian designers, creative directors and entrepreneurs Jess and Stef Dadon – will present the Beehive Fashion Market, exhibiting emerging design talent Melbourne has to offer on Sunday 11 March, 10am – 5pm.

Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011) was a songwriter, singer and a trend-setter of her generation named ‘a style icon’ by Karl Lagerfeld.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is open until Sunday 25 March 2018 at the Jewish Museum of Australia. Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is a participant of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Arts Program 2018.

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