Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blow by Blow



I recently read Blow by Blow, a biography of the late style icon Isabella Blow. I was really excited to read this book because I had been longing to learn more about the glamorous eccentric stylist. Plus, the book had all the inside scoop since it was written by her husband of almost 20 years, Detmar Blow.



Blow by Blow is a great resource for anyone interested in fashion. It provides an intimate portrait of Isabella, who basically proved to the world that style is an art form.

Although the writing is a little dry for my taste (Detmar is a former lawyer, so that didn't surprise me) it gives you a very clear view of a woman who had been a mystery to everyone, including herself.



It chronicles her struggles of trying to make it in the fashion journalism industry.

She was hired, fired, and rehired numerous times by major fashion magazines in the UK and the US.

Her closest friends included the fabulous designer Philip Treacy and Anna Wintour, the editor of US Vogue.

She also had a very tumultuous yet close friendship with iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen. It is widely believed Isabella's death was one of the main reasons McQueen couldn't go on with his own life.



One of the biggest surprises to me was how Isabella's background was just as fascinating as the woman herself.

She was born to an aristocratic, yet not entirely wealthy, British family. As a little girl, she was well aware of the famous scandals and secrets her ancestors bore.



A loveless childhood, filled with deceit and longing, shaped her soul. By the time she was in her 20s, she partied with reckless abandon and displayed an alarming wild nature. Although she was extremely ambitious when it came to her career, she was deemed unprofessional many times.



She would often take spontaneous vacations without telling her boss, which frustrated her former editors, such as Andre Leon Talley. Her excessive spending earned her many pink slips in the workplace and caused her family to plunge into debt.



But she was never without work. Isabella's genius when it came to fashion could not be ignored.

After all, she had discovered the designers Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen.



Despite an impressive career in fashion and being an international celebrity, Isabella could not get rid of the dark cloud hanging over her head. Ever since young adulthood, she had become more and more depressed. No amount of money in the world or the highest accolades could make her happy. She was, quite simply, too sad to live.



She attempted suicide several times before finally succeeding with poison in 2007.



Her death was a horrific shock to the fashion community.

But even a never-ending sleep can't take Isabella away from the world.

Her infamous style is a living, breathing legend.

In fact, Lady Gaga is a walking tribute to the international fashion icon. The pop star has based her entire look on Isabella.





Isabella's life and style is extremely inspirational. She was a woman who knew what she wanted in life and grabbed it by the balls.

From the time she was a lowly personal assistant to Anna Wintour in the early 1980s until being a big-shot editor herself in the 2000s, Isabella always stayed true to herself.

She wasn't afraid to show off her outrageous style and she didn't care what people thought about her.



And that's what made her so fucking fabulous.

67 comments:

MG said...

This is fabulous, Jen! I won't lie...didn't really know about her at all. However, it only solidifies my feelings about how Lady Gaga sucks. Everyone thinks she's so damn original but she's just stealing all the brilliance from Isabella Blow.

-E- said...

wow i don't care about fashion at all but i read your whole blog entry here. very well written and interesting!

Josie said...

I didn't know she had a book out! Stopping by Barnes and Noble TOMORROW to check it out!
xo Josie
www.winksmilestyle.com

Anonymous said...

wow, she sounds like a case study for bipolar disorder. i hope she is at peace now.

Andrés Corella said...

Wow..her style is so fabulous! she is truly incredible the pics are fab..and well Lady Gaga sure knows how to pic her inspirations!

xx
Andy
The Black Label

Kavery said...

I knew she was a genius stylist but not much else so this was a great read for me. Wish we could all live life on our terms like she did.

♥ joei said...

Oh wow. I didnt know that! Thanks for sharing this "trivia" :)

Definitely, Maybe

augustalolita said...

wonderful photos and looks!! those head pieces are quite amazing!!

StyleID said...

Wow thanks for posting about her and her book. I had no idea but it sounds like a MUST READ .... RIGHT NOW.

http://styleidnet.blogspot.com/
http://www.filomenascloset.com/

Meri said...

She seems unbelievably cool- Great piece on her. I've only heard about her but didn't really know much.

Katie said...

Her story is fascinating. I was first interested in her when I watched The September Issue when Anna Wintour speaks at her funeral. I was gunna say I can see how she's influenced Lady Gaga, then you showed the pictures!! lol

Tanvi said...

She sure sounds very intriguing and talented lady! Had no idea about her and McQueen! WOW! :) You yourself have an amazing and varied interest and insights my dear.

♡ from © tanvii.com

Joandy said...

this is very interesting, make me wanted to buy this book and read it, great post, i love your blog, following you now!!!
http://mystylebyjoandy.blogspot.com

Courtney Erin said...

Oh my god - I have to read this! She was such a fascinating woman.

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Vintage Vixen said...

She was an artist and a style icon and a true individual. I often marvelled at her outrageousness when she was photographed for in the papers.
I knew she'd suffered with depression all her life (as indeed do many great artists) but sadly she had also been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and couldn't bear to live a life diminished. xxx

Fashion Cappuccino said...

Amazing review of Isabella's life Jennifer! I'm really fascinated by her style and admired that she left an irreplaceable footprint in fashion history! xoxoxoo

Sarah said...

I watched a documentary about Isabella and McQueen recently and it was really interesting and so so sad.
x

Sherin said...

I saw a documentary about her once, and she seemed pretty epicly fabulous. She's one of those women who lived her life and didn't care what others thought: that's what makes her amazing.

Princess and the pea x said...

Hey chick, thanks for your lovely comment. Fab post very interesting I have learnt something new today.

Have a lovely week.

xoxo

Kashaya said...

That sounds like a great book, need to look for it right away! Thanks for sharing.

http://kashaysblogg.blogspot.com

Aditi Bhalotra said...

whoa sounds like an outlandish plot out of a movie.

Thanks so much for your comment..great blog!!

Aditi,
http://mysartorialsecrets.blogspot.com/

Vanilla - notes from my closet said...

I haven't read this yet but really should :) stopping by the book shop tomorrow! :)

Love, Vanilla

http://notesfrommycloset.blogspot.com/

Lee Oliveira said...

I still can't believe Gaga met the Queen of England wearing a Lobster hat... hahahaha
Lee x

Pratishtha Durga said...

What an incredible, amazing woman! Great review/recap of her book. Will try and see if I can get a copy. thanks for sharing, dear.

gleenn said...

wow! This is such a great read. Thanks for making it "not dry" to read. I didn't know much about Isabella Blow, although I'm aware about her death's contribution to McQueen's own death.

Thanks a lot for sharing! :)

love jenny xoxo said...

wow I feel like I just learned a lot! I didn't really know much about Isabella Blow, I wanna get that book! And I think it's cool that Gaga gets inspired by her, as long as she's open about it!

XOXO

Couture Carrie said...

Such a tragic bio.
Beautiful post, darling!
I need this book!

xoxox,
CC

Cafe Fashionista said...

Okay, so this just made it to the top of my must-read list - it sounds fantastic! :)

apple said...

that sounds fascinating!



http://89rottenapples.blogspot.com

Dilan Dilir said...

wish you a wonderful monday!

Prutha said...

sometimes i get scared when i read all these stories about ppl soo like me being soo unstable... :( ...

http://donotshoeme.blogspot.com/

Tights Lover said...

That must've been a fascinating read! I may need to check this out.

The fashion industry seems like such a hard industry to stay on top of and still lead a normal life. I feel like I hear about it more with actors, musicians, and athletes, but fashion icons obviously lead equally taxing lives...

*Glam Chameleon* said...

my dear u have no idea how much i want to read this book now,after your post!!!!!i'll really try to find it!!thank u so much for sharing your extraordinary taste!:)
kisses
Jelena
http://glamfabchameleon.blogspot.com/

a woman's right to shoes said...

I didn't really know anything about her, but this post made me want to read the book and to learn more about this amazing woman!

http://cammiew4.blogspot.com/

Olga said...

This is one of the most tragic stories in the fashion industry. Her presence was truly significant in the modern fashion world. Like many extraordinary people, she was misunderstood by her contemporaries. There was a big dose of betrayal from her friends :(

LiezyL said...

hmmmm, you got me curious about this!

district5 said...

Your blog is amazing! Thanks for your comment which guided me to your. Following!

Christine
http://district5-fashion.blogspot.com/

Mirela said...

Wow this is a really interesting post! amasing!


http://www.mirelamededovic.blogspot.com/

Lauraf said...

I love Isabella blow! You can always spot her at fashion shows because of her eccentric style!

I wish I had an amazing occasion to wear any of her hats : )

thanks for the comment!

Laura @

laura-inthecity.blogspot.com

(Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle) said...

This is the most fabulous post girl and the images are just amazing and just adore Lady GaGa.

XoXo
http://fashionmakeuplifestyle.blogspot.com

Sisters and Sisters said...

What a great post, even we don't know her!


XoXo
H&C from Amsterdam
www.sistersandsisters.com

Venus In Virgo said...

Fabulous read! I didn't know they had a book out on her yet. Thanks for posting this. And here I was blaming Lady Gaga for stealing Madge's looks ;) It's also interesting to read that tidbit abut AM because ever article I read said he couldn't go on after his mothers death. You always have the inside scoop. XOXO

Bonnie said...

Okay, so Mr. A read your comment, and now he is ALL excited that you live in KC. You have no idea how many times he has talked about us road tripping in there just for the BBQ. When his parents returned from England a few weeks ago, he was hoping that the airport here would still be shut down from the tornadoes so they would get redirected to KC. Then, we would have an excuse to go there and eat BBQ all day before driving back.
I think it's safe to say that a trip to KC is in the cards in the future. I will definitely be letting you know. I'm super happy to know that now there will be something in KC for me to love, too -- YOU. :)

Oh, and now I have to buy this woman's book. kthx.

http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Cookie said...

Thank's for your comment. Your blog is pretty impressive.
xoxo
Cookie.

Vero said...

thanks for your comment!!:)
nice post!!!

http://searchingmystyle.blogspot.com/

xoxo

UyenCao said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Great post! Very articulate, I enjoyed reading it.

sheknowslamode.blogspot.com

xoxo Uyen

Fashion Celebration said...

thx for comment, of cours I'm following your blog :)


xo
www.fashioncelebration.blogspot.com

Amy said...

Definitely an eccentric woman! I didn't know about this book, thank you!

MONi said...

Great post I heard about that woman as the friend of Alexander McQueen and that she had killed herself and that was why McQueen killed himself… I never thought a bout her but after your post I kind of want to read the book.

wardrobemag said...

I've never seen the comparison with her and Lady Gaga before.. What a true icon

Bhav x

Ninjagaiden78 said...

Isabella Blow personifies fashion risks and living life to the fullest. She clearly did not care what others thought and that is what is so awesome about her.

windowshopz.com

Fashion Confessions of a Mommy said...

Very educational and an interesting post.

Thanks for visiting my blog by the way.

Daphne.
http://fashiondivamommy.blogspot.com

Valerie said...

Your blog is amazing! I'm gonna try and hunt this book down. Thanks for dropping by my blog. :) xx

forshoeswefall.blogspot.com

An Hour After Yesterday said...

I like the Blow feather hair :)
and I love lady gaga!!

Im one of your new followers!!
:D

http://anhourafteryesterday.blogspot.com

Style, She Wrote said...

Great synopsis! I've been dying to get my hands on this book! xo style, she wrote

Sherry said...

Oh gosh I would love to read this!!!! I've been wanting to read more biographies/autobiographies - this would be perfect! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog - I appreciate it so much!!

http://sweetandsassy-sherry.blogspot.com/

Diego R. Wyatt said...

More people should learn about Isabella and her legacy. She is an institution in the industry and I can't wait to read the book. I also hope the option it as a film because it could really be an incredible opportunity to get hor story to the masses.

Diego
www.howtozipyourfly.com

Nicole said...

This is really fabulous! I didn't know that! The photos are very beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Thank you for your lovely coment!

www.simple-fabulous.blogspot.com

Jlo said...

Hey, good to know you into books too ;) Her style definitely is Original & BOLD *kudos to her* Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog babe! <3

XoXo

http://pretzyness.blogspot.com

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

What an amazing life - thanks for the review dear! While I'm much more calm and not as creative, I so appreciate talent like hers. Oh and seriously Lady Gaga? At least wear some different pieces!

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

Carrie said...

Hey Fabulous Jennifer!!!! my sister in fabulousness! Is that a word? Well if it isn't it should be for us! hahahhahha
So glad you found me! I love this post you did! It's awesome! So interesting. I love all the inside info in fashion! That took some effort I know....you did a great job! Love ya!
XO Carrie
www.carriefabulous.com

Aki No Yuutsu said...

Thanks for the comment! and I think I'm gonna check this book out too!

LikeSpinningPlates said...

ooo this looks like an awesome book. I like things like this. So I need to check this out. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog =)

Grace said...

This is very very interesting!

Francesca R said...

Amazing post! I didn't know anything about her. I'll buy the book!
xx
http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com

lifeontherocks said...

honestly, i never knew anything about this lady..........but after reading ur post, she really sounds sensational. wow! great post.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

ok 2 things: i used the cover image on her book on my model poses post last year, not knowing who she was at the time. but i still thought that post was striking.

second thing: gaga is such a poser. i mean, she clearly took her look straight from isabella. i actually think, though, that gaga is going to end up looking just like isabella as she ages. you see it, don't you?