Our Day Will Come: Jean Paul Gaultier’s Amy Winehouse

Our day will come… for a fitting homage to Amy Winehouse. Perhaps. Or maybe it already has. I ADORE Amy Winehouse, in all that she was. I was glad Jean Paul Gaultier paid tribute to her in his haute couture show last week. But it got me thinking. Was it too literal?

There were beehives. And moles. And cigarettes. [oh my!] The styling was a much more refined take on her often disheveled appearance, punctuated with her signature leggings. The 60s style dresses bring to mind her forearm pinup tattoo and singing style. And the references go on. Taken alone, none of those things are remarkable. However, together with her music in the background, and relatively recent death, it is unmistakable. This is Amy. Her brand. Her legacy.

If this had happened in this overly litigious country, there would have surely been a lawsuit no sooner than the quartet’s last ahhhhhs escaped its lips. The claim: Right of publicity. A right of publicity claim occurs when you use a famous person’s image for a commercial benefit without their permission. In death a family can exploit an artist’s image to the extent the artist exploited their own image. Gaultier blatently used her image to inspire this collection. Judging from the negative reaction of the family they were neither pleased nor flattered. While, its arguable whether or not Amy actually exploited her image or it was just a byproduct of her tumultuous lifestyle, the reference couldn’t be more clear.

Oddly, its far more profitable for the family not the press the issue. It is to her family’s benefit for her to be remembered and revisited, repeatedly. Afterall, when people see the stunning collection, they will forever will be reminded of Amy and driven to her music, all to her family’s benefit. So while I understand it may have been a bit too soon for the family to appreciate, and even I can concede the veil and playing Rehab was in poor taste, they should be grateful for this collection for being a beautiful reminder of Amy’s soul and influence.