Red Violins and Polka-Dot Dresses

What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?

So inquires Charles Morritz, a primary player in The Red Violin, the 1998 film saga that traces the 300-year+ history of a “magical” violin that has been played by – and “played” – a large cast of saints and sinners.

On November 29, 2011, another inanimate object with a “Lazarus Soul” will continue upon its path to fashion immortality. Now known as “Kerry Taylor Auctions Lot 178,” the iconic offering is the Disaya-print chiffon dress worn by Amy Jade Winehouse on the cover of her 2006 album, Back To Black.

Before getting deeper into the weeds, it is important to praise the decency and generosity of designer Disaya Sorakraikitikul. As Ruselsky sought to hoard the magnificent violin for vain pleasure, so too could DS have done with her world-famous dress. Instead, she chose to send the dress on the next step of its date with destiny. All proceeds from the sale accrue to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. All Amy fans owe Disaya big-time and we should never forget the designer’s role in building the legend.

To learn more about Disaya, see her nifty website:


Excerpts from the Kerry Taylor Auctions catalog:

Item Description: … with engraved gilt metal Disaya label, the short dress printed with bands of graduated dark-red polka dots, the corset-like bodice with under-wiring and central lace bow insertion and waistband, elasticated puff-ball skirt, UK size 8, bust approx 82-86cm, 32-34in, the high waist 71cm, 28in; together with a letter of authenticity signed by the designer – Disaya.

Item Provenance: In 2006, the young St Martins trained, Thai based designer Disaya was approached by her British PR agent with a request for the loan of a dress for Miss Winehouse’s photo-shoot. This request came via his friend – Louise Winwood who was Amy’s stylist at the time and was working on the album cover project for Universal Island Records.

Although this was Amy Winehouse’s second album (she was re-launching her career after a break) there was reluctance on the part of many of the leading fashion designers initially approached to assist. However, Disaya was happy to help as she was launching her new label in the UK and felt that the young, innovative designs would be a good match.

The photo-shoot took place in the photographer Mischa Richter’s house. Louise took over a selection of clothes for Amy to try, and they both agreed that this dress suited her best. After the photo-shoot the dress was returned to the designer and carefully stored in the Disaya archive.


Not included in the KTA literature are these fun details and pics related to the famous photo-shoot:


The high-bidder will own the dress and may do whatever he or she chooses to do with it. The internet is alive with “suggestions” on what the new owner “should do” with their new acquisition. No point in missing my chance to opine on the matter.

First, the new owner should do that which suits and pleases them to do with the dress. There should be no recriminations from fans; no matter what that owner’s choice is.

If I were to buy the dress:

I would retain ownership of it and seek to acquire additional high-profile Amy fashions to build the finest quality collection extant. The entire collection would be put to work in service to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Items would be loaned to responsible event organizers around the planet to feature as exhibits at their sundry AWF-fundraising events.

When I joined AJW, the items would all conditionally revert to the AWF; in the hope that the cycle would continue “forever” and that the collection would always remain together.

Having owned a number of high-end collectibles, I can report that – after a short period of selfish “love” for the items – the only genuine joy from owning such things comes from sharing them with as many other folks as possible. In the case of the instant dress, millions of people likely eagerly await an opportunity to view it up close and in person. Our hope should be that its new owner wants to, in whatever ways they choose, provide for at least some elements of that demand.

The “White Dress With The Red Polka Dots” is about to continue its journey into history. In 100-years, Amy’s dress will have one-third as many stories to tell as the fictional violin did. We will not know those stories, but we will always be connected to their earliest chapters. That is a very cool thing.

Now, we must hope for a winning bidder with the semi-pure heart of Morritz. I am pretty sure that the JadeMermaid Princess would prefer that bidders with the heart of Ruselsky not own the treasure. Yet, I wish all of the bidders the best of luck as they each attempt to be the next to add their own chapter to what will become the forever legend of Amy’s ever so marvelous dress.



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