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.