Why Amy Winehouse still captivates us 12 years after her passing


With her powerful voice often likened to that of Ella FitzgeraldMacy Gray, or Sarah Vaughan, her unmistakably sixties style, fiery personality, and visceral connection to music, Amy Winehouse has earned her place in the pantheon of iconic musicians. Here, Vogue takes a look back at her phenomenon, now forever etched in the annals of music history.

Amy Winehouse: an icon for several generations

Amy Winehouse‘s life took a turn on July 23, 2011, when she suddenly passed away in her Camden Square home. Eleven years later, her melancholic songs with soulful inflections still resonate, while her trademark beehive and extreme cat eye makeup continue to inspire. Whether in cinema, literature, or fashion, Amy Winehouse remains in the spotlight.

Amy Winehouse

For his Spring/Summer 2012 couture collection, Jean Paul Gaultier drew inspiration from the icon, envisioning a collection adorned with the details that contributed to the stylistic success of the Rehab singer: the beehive, the cat eye makeup, the carefree allure… It’s all there. The models donned pieces with a sixties flair: biker-style jackets, sparkling pencil skirts, and even Amy Winehouse‘s favorite polos were reimagined with a Gaultier twist.

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A much-discussed documentary

In 2015, four years after Amy Winehouse‘s passing at the age of twenty-seven, Asif Kapadia dissected with unflinching honesty the star’s old-school voice and self-destructive antics in a breathtaking documentary. It unveils a tender new facet of Amy, from her childhood to her almost immediate success, delving into her shadows. All of this is portrayed through personal footage, excerpts from interviews and concerts, and poignant testimonies from close ones – her mother, Pete Doherty, her ex-husband Blake Fielder, her producer Mark Ronson, her bodyguard, and childhood friends.

Amy Winehouse at the Grammy Awards

At the time, this documentary didn’t sit well with the singer’s father, Mitch Winehouse, who explained on Twitter that it was a “negative, malicious, and deceptive portrayal” of his daughter. Nevertheless, the recipe worked, to the point that Amy received several awards, including the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2016.

Books dedicated to Amy Winehouse continue to emerge

Since her passing in 2011, numerous books dedicated to Amy Winehouse have emerged, most of them written and compiled by people close to the singer. One of the first was Amy, my daughter by Mitch Winehouse (you’ve guessed it, the singer’s father), which dissects his daughter’s life in minute detail. There was also Before Frank, named in honor of her debut album, by photographer Charles Moriarty, which compiles images from two shoots dating back to 2003, one done in New York, the other in Back to Black singer’s native London.

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Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse at the Brit Awards

However, the most memorable are undoubtedly the works Amy Winehouse and Amy Winehouse Flash Back. The first is a collection of 85 never-before-seen shots taken by her close friend, Blake Wood. His shots play the card of raw sincerity and inevitably change the perception we have of the fallen icon. The second is by her stylist Naomi Parry. It showcases the fashion pieces and favorite accessories of the Rehab singer, along with touching testimonies from her close ones, including Ronnie SpectorVivienne Westwood, and her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield.

An anticipated film and TV series

In a surprising turn of events, Amy Winehouse is set to have a biopic made about her. After several failed attempts, it’s now Amy Winehouse‘s turn to have her story told on the big screen, titled Back to Black, in reference to her second and final album. It will be directed by Fifty Shades of Grey director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, a close friend of the singer, and will explore Amy Winehouse‘s meteoric rise, as well as her tragic passing on July 23, 2011, making her a member of the prestigious 27 Club. While the 2015 documentary dedicated to her was heavily criticized by her father, Mitch Winehouse (because the directors depicted her on “the worst day possible,” according to his words), this new project seems to be fully endorsed by the British icon’s family.

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Amy Winehouse at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

A biopic is good, but a television series on top of that is even better! Spread across eight episodes, Saving Amy will take as its starting point the bestselling book of the same name by Daphne Barak. According to rumors, the series will delve into the singer’s tumultuous romantic relationships, as well as her relationships with her family, especially her father Mitch. It will also touch on her career and her constant battle against addiction and alcoholism. British producer Mal Young will be tasked with bringing the book to the small screen. One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see the result.

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