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High on inspiration?

entertainment Updated: Aug 27, 2008 17:12 IST
Jaydeep Ghosh
Jaydeep Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

I hate it when one takes to things just because they are in fashion or because they are considered ‘cool’. Unfortunately, our beloved city has many such slaves of trivial pursuits. But more than that I despise those who create trends and coolness quotients using a disastrous element as their inspiration. Now take this — suddenly, Amy Winehouse is uber cool. Karl Lagerfeld calls her his muse and clothing brand — Guess? claims their new look is inspired by Amy Winehouse.

So Amy must be real cool. Girls, do you want to wind up scruffy, scrawny and toothless like her? I don’t deny her exceptional talent. Amy Winehouse’s story is a tragedy unfolding. With a string of problems including drug addiction, bulimia and a jailed hubby, troubled Amy Winehouse looks like a walking disaster zone.

I suspect you would have to be particularly warped to think she is an aspirational figure and worst, is a style icon. Fashion has always been flirting with drugs. In the 60s, designers flirted with hippie culture and not only painted the clothes in psychedelic colours but turned LSD into a fad. Then came heroine-chic in the 90s, when sickly looking emaciated models became the epitome of fashion. I still fail to understand what is so chic about heroin abuse.

Ever seen an addict? Chic would be the last word that comes to mind. At the turn of the millennium, Hedi Slimane of Dior Homme found drug-abuser Pete Doherty and his hedonistic lifestyle cool. Taking inspiration from this, Slimane thrust the new indie-boy look onto the catwalk and had super skinny models wearing super skinny clothes. Now it isn’t an easy job for a butter-chicken fed Delhi lad to cinch into the new skinny fashion.

But enslavement to fashion trends is fed to him from glossies and FTV, and he tries desperately to fit into the new skinny Dior suit. Desperation may also lead him to heroin addiction like Pete Doherty. Karl Lagerfeld is a czar of fashion and when a designer of his stature takes to emaciated, bruised, slurring onstage pop princess Amy Winehouse as his latest muse, I feel the repercussions are dangerous.

Lagerfeld is in a position to define trends and dictate what’s cool and what’s not. So when he says, “She is a beautiful, gifted artist. And I very much like her hairdo... I took it as an inspiration. In fact, it was also Brigitte Bardot’s hairdo in the late 50’ and 60’. So, when I saw her, I knew it was the right moment. She is the new Brigitte”, millions of girls would try to emulate Amy and not only adopt her beehive hair-do but also her much publicised drug-fuelled lifestyle.

Isn’t that a risky affair? Things become more frightening when a high-street family brand like Guess? tom-toms about Amy Winehouse, the inspiration behind their latest collection, even when UN drug tsar Antonio Maria Costa described Winehouse as “the poster girl for drug abuse”. Trendsetters forget that by eulogising a pop culture icon with a destructive lifestyle, they are not just selling clothes but a lifestyle, which impressionable minds might just fall for.

"I have great respect for our desi designers and fashion brands as they never flirted with drugs
or violence to design their collection."

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