Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Isabella Blow 1958-2007

Goslings, I regret to inform you that Isabella Blow, style icon, fashion editor, and one of the few people in the world I have ever envied, is no longer with us. The fashion world, and indeed the world as we know it, will be hopelessly bland without her.

No longer will I scan catwalk photos in hopes of seeing her proud noggin capped with a Philip Treacy confection.

Checking out at the tender young age of 48, Ms. Blow leaves me bereft of a role model. Who will guide me, now rudderless and careening into my 40s? Who will put the flash into fashion and inspire us all to think vertically? Who is left in the fashion industry with a sense of humor?

Reading more about her life, I now see the struggle, when before I saw only ease. I didn't know that her father, Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton, had basically disowned her. I didn't know that she paid for her glad rags on the installment plan. That her earlier years were filled with odd jobs, even as a cleaner. That her promotion of other's talents never netted her a dime. That she struggled with depression.
I can't believe she thought of herself as "ugly", though I even read as much in one of Vogue's profiles. To me she always looked regal and dazzling, even without a pagoda on her head. And with work she obviously loved, plenty of places to wear luscious lids, and a gallery co-owned with her second husband, I thought it all came easily to her. From fashion director of the Sunday Times Style section, editor-at-large for Tatler's, and I was green-eyed about it.

Izzy (if I may, since something about reading several obits promotes this sort of familiarity), I misjudged you. There was way more grit, hard work and complication than I gave you credit for. My envy was pure small-mindedness on my part. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to be your friend.
People say it takes courage to dress with this kind of insouciance. I disagree. It is an art form. And Ms. Blow was a great artist.
For Lynne Yaeger's tribute, click here



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