Amy Winehouse x Fred Perry

Who are they?

Amy Winehouse was a popular singer and songwriter, known for her music as well as her personal struggles. She passed away on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27.

Fred Perry is a British fashion label named after a dominant tennis player of the same name. Founded in the 1950s when Perry created his own version of a polo (In the form of a tennis shirt), the line today includes all sort of clothing from shoes to sweaters to dress shirts and much more.

A brief history on the collaboration

Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) in a press photo for her Fred Perry collection.

Winehouse, herself a regular wearer of Fred Perry clothing, was approached by the label in early 2010 to design a capsule based around her unique look. Beginning with a Fall/Winter 2010 collection (Released October 2010), another line followed just five months later (March 2011) for the Spring/Summer 2011 season. It appeared the range was quite exhaustive as Amy herself once told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that there were lines up to the Fall/Winter 2012 season.

When Winehouse passed away, the project was understandably left in limbo. With the blessing of Amy’s family, Fred Perry chose to resume work on the collection and two lines were released posthumously. The company continued releasing pieces until the Spring/Summer 2012 season.

As far as I understand, there were four separate collections: Two when Amy was alive and two released following her death. Unfortunately, the official Fred Perry website has gone through redesign so information on past lines is scarce, save for old news articles from third-party websites.

Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry

Pink, pink and more pink.

Around the time Amy passed away, I was firmly entrenched in my heavy metal music and my non-existent style of ill-fitting jeans and ratty skater shoes. When I finally made the effort to change my look for the better, I immediately became a Fred Perry fan, especially of its iconic polo shirt (Which Fred Perry themselves refer to as simply “The shirt”). Through this, I became aware of Amy’s work with the label. I wish I had known of the project since the beginning instead of years after the collection’s end.

Fashion collaborations with celebrities or well-known figures are always interesting, especially if the person comes from a primarily creative background. To see the creative process of one field being applied to another industry is fascinating to me. Especially if it’s a long term partnership and not just a one-off project.

A small sampling of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection: The last range before Amy’s passing.

What was great about this collaboration was that Amy was already a Fred Perry fan before she was approached by the label, calling the brand her “be-all-and-end-all”. Because of this, she was heavily involved in the design process, unlike other purely money making partnerships, where the celebrity is simply presented with concepts or the finished product. It was abundantly clear that each party was passionate about this clothing line.

Amy herself had a distinct personal style with homages to 60s girl groups, Americana and had just an overall vintage look. This is reflected in the range, which included a wide assortment of shirts (Including, of course, the standard Fred Perry twin-tipped polo shirt), capri pants, jackets, skirts and body con dresses. Accessories such as giant belts, gloves and bowling bags were also part of the collection.

Amy’s love for 1950s Americana has been well documented.

Plenty of patterns were used from houndstooth to gingham to classic checkerboard. Sometimes, they were used wholesale across the garment while other times, it was limited to only on certain parts such as the collar and the sleeve cuffs, accentuating these areas. Graphic design elements are minimal for the most part. Notable exceptions would include later pieces featuring a print of Cadillacs, jukeboxes, vinyl records and other old school graphics.

Colour schemes varied by season. The first and my personal favourite featured a combination of black, grey and neutral pink. The Hawaiian-inspired Spring/Summer 2011 line made use of saturated reds and yellows. Other seasons featured classic black and white.

Even the windows displays reflected the fun and creativity of the project.

A fashion collaboration cut far too short

While the project overall was quite extensive, one can’t help but wonder what might have been had it continued past the 2012 season. Would it have been more of the same? Or would there have been bold new ideas from each side? Regardless, for me, Amy’s work with Fred Perry stood out compared to a lot of collaborative lines. It just seemed like a lot of love and care went into the project and it’s a shame Amy passed away so young, just as she was establishing herself in the world of fashion design.

The Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry collection is not available at retail anymore. I imagine eBay and other auction websites would be the best bet at finding anything, though being a few years old (An eternity in fashion), it may be impossible to find specific pieces, let alone specific sizes.

To see a gallery of images from the collaboration, please click here.