Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Isabella Blow was one of my favorite fashion people. The eccentricity and the confidence to wear outrageous clothing made her stand out in a sea of convention. I asked Grace to introduce me once but the opportunity never came up.

After seeing her at the shows and a party, I was determined to explore my own outrageousness and put together a few thrift store finds along with a couple of household items and confidently sallied forth into the Paris street. The rolled eyes and snickers soon melted my confidence and I retreated home with the realization that my exploration of the limits of my personal style peaked when I was fifteen.

The cause of her death has gone unspecified, Cathy Horyn mentioned a bout with ovarian cancer, and Suzy Menkes, mentions a recently removed tumor. While Guy Trebay raises the possibility of suicide in today’s NYT. Whatever the cause the world has lost one of its characters.



Blogger christopher said...

awe... did you get any pictures?? I wanna see!!

-=- christopher

my vegas blog

10:08 AM  
Anonymous VJ said...

The decent obit from The Independent:


A tortured life, a lonely death, a private funeral
A small group of mourners led by the actor Rupert Everett will say farewell to Isabella Blow this week
By Cole Moreton
Published: 13 May 2007

Isabella Blow always said she would be buried in one of Philip Treacy's hats. This week the time will come. "I'm having space made in my coffin for a pheasant hat," the fashion guru once said. "I love the idea of the feathers dying with me slowly."

Blow died last Monday, having poisoned herself with the weedkiller Paraquat. A private service of thanksgiving for the life of one of the most extraordinary characters that the world of British fashion has ever seen will be held at Gloucester Cathedral on Tuesday.

It will be attended by a small gathering of the people she loved most, including Treacy, the milliner she discovered and whose improbable creations became her trademark and armour. "If I feel really low, I go to see Philip, cover my face [with one of the hats] and feel fantastic," said the 48-year-old fashion editor-at-large of Tatler. Recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she also suffered from depression - and is believed to have killed herself after telling house guests, including Treacy, that she was going shopping.

The designer Alexander McQueen said Blow was "one of the most original and influential people in fashion in the 20th century". He is among the stars expected to attend a grand memorial service in London later this year, alongside fellow Blow discoveries such as the designer Julien Macdonald and the model Sophie Dahl. But her husband, the art dealer Detmar Blow, said: "Everyone wants the cathedral to be only our close - very close - family and friends."

The actor Rupert Everett will take part in the service, but the mourners might not include her mother. Lady Helen Delves Broughton, who left the family home when Isabella was still a teenager, said: "I don't know whether I shall or shan't attend."

Blow was born Isabella Delves Broughton in 1958 and raised in Cheshire within sight of the ancestral land her grandfather sold to pay gambling debts. He was Sir Henry "Jock" Delves Broughton, who went to Kenya with his much younger wife Diana and was tried for the murder of her dashing lover, the Earl of Erroll. Sir Henry was acquitted, but committed suicide with an overdose of heroin. The story was told in the book and film White Mischief.

At the age of four Isabella witnessed the drowning of her two-year-old brother John in a swimming pool. "I can remember everything about it," she said. "The smell of the honeysuckle, and him stretched out on the lawn. My mother went upstairs to put her lipstick on. That might have something to do with my obsession with lipstick."

Lady Delves Broughton denies it happened like that. "This is an awful, unfounded lie," she said last week. "I'm afraid my daughter made it up."

When Isabella was 14 she was lined up alongside her sisters Julia and Lavinia, so that her mother could shake their hands before she left for good.

In 1979, at the age of 21, Isabella went to New York to study art. She was friends with Bryan Ferry from the band Roxy Music, who introduced her to Anna Wintour, Vogue magazine legend and inspiration for last year's film The Devil Wears Prada. In New York Isabella met Andy Warhol and married an American. It lasted two years.

Back in London, using her New York connections and dramatic dress sense for all they were worth, she was recruited by Vogue and Tatler.Then colleague Alexandra Shulman remembers the new girl arriving for her first day "in thigh-skimming bloomers with hold-up fishnets and a Chanel couture jacket" that stopped the traffic. Literally. Now editor of Vogue in the UK, Shulman, said yesterday: "In the near alchemical world of fashion, influential characters often don't really have job descriptions but, by their actions, keep that world vibrant and exciting. Isabella was just such a person."

Gloucester Cathedral, where the funeral will take place, is where she married the lawyer and art dealer Detmar Blow in 1989. She wore a hat by Treacy, the Irish-born designer whose close friend and muse she became. He stayed loyal, but friends suggest that Blow felt abandoned by some of the others she discovered, who had gone on to make fortunes. Dogged by depression, she tried to kill herself twice - once by throwing herself off the Hammersmith Flyover.

She also tried eight times to have a child through IVF but failed. Her marriage suffered - Detmar had an affair with an author previously known for being a lesbian, while Isabella went off to Venice and had a fling with a gondolier. But when the couple were reconciled she moved back into Detmar's spectacular Art and Crafts family home, Hilles, in Gloucestershire. Discovered in a bad way there by her sister on Saturday, she died two days later in hospital.

Adjourning the inquest until October, the coroner confirmed she had drunk Paraquat. There are tragic parallels with the suicides of her grandfather and her father-in-law, who also poisoned himself. But her husband said: "Isabella was a doyenne in fashion, and so what is the point in dwelling on her sadness? She was a private figure and she worked very hard. She was a substantial person. She was extraordinary, dynamic, beautiful and loyal."

Just very sad. I thought it was very respectful though, which is what we expect from the Independent & the best of the Brits press. 'VJ'

1:11 PM  
Blogger Annie Rhiannon said...

I think if you're called Isabella then you have to wear outrageous clothes otherwise it's a waste of a good name.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

VJ, thanks for filling in the gaps.


6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:38 PM  

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