Saturday, December 11, 2010

Before Anna Dello Russo, L'Wren Scott, Rachel Zoe , Andrea Lieberman, Katie Grand, Kate Lanpear, Susie Bubble, and even the petite Tavi made names for themselves as stylists (or style bloggers) and turned into mega brands there was the iconoclast Isabella Blow. The enigma perched behind her trademark chapeau, smeared lipstick and out of this world ensembles- she was the original uber stylist.
While those in the fashion world or the few 'in the know' knew Issie (as she was affectionately known) as a true style savant . A legend in her own time the outside world at large only knew of her for discovering talents such as Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl, and Hussein Chalayan, as well as serving as muse to the renowned milliner Philip Treacy there was more to this woman. And in the endearing tome, Blow by Blow (It Books) by her husband Detmar Blow along with Tom Sykes gives us mere fashion mortals the inside glispe of who she really was.
A young Isabella in her Nuthurst school uniform.

In the book we get an intimate look at the making of Isabella Blow, one of the most pivotal central figures in the contemporary fashion world. From her early days on the English country side, tragic death of her brother, her complex relationship with her parents to her failed attempts to become a mother - Isabella paved a way for herself that few would not even begin to fathom. She was a tour de force in the fashion world yet she never achieved the success she longed for and sadly saw her discoveries become supernovas while she was left on the sidelines longing for her time to come when she would herself become the brand - the next grand 'discovery' in fashion - and in many ways discover herself alas that never happen as her obsession with death and suicide plagued her and ultimately took her life in 2007 leaving behind a legacy of a woman who's potential would never be realized. The duo behind the book spared no expense delving into the life of a woman who saw the beauty in the obtuse and who paved the way for legions of fashion luminaries today.
Isabella in a Bill Blast suit before attending the memorial service of Andy Warhol in NYC

From a personal standpoint this book truly resonated with me being that I too am a stylist and can relate to her aggravations and frustrations regarding work and building her career/brand. She was ahead of her time and while her story ended early there are legions of stylists who now are reaping the rewards she gave her life for. This book is a must for fashion enthusiasts to aspiring stylists/designers and the like...