April 2015: Fashion Focus: Isabella Blow

There are several different words that can be used to describe the legend that was Isabella Blow: eccentric, eclectic, mad and down right wacky when it came to her style, the clothes she wore and the lengths she went to, to put her love for fashion on the map and in fashion magazines. It's why I felt it one hundred percent necessary to talk about the legend that was and still is. From her style, to her friendships with other legendary fashionistas and designers including Alexander McQueen and Philip Tracey and why her legacy and eccentric style will always live on.

She has produced some of the most amazing images of her time thanks to her looks: which were often seen as eccentric and unique. She reminds me of another Lady who's style we in the fashion industry have grown to love and respect: Lady Gaga. But Blow did it all first: her use of mixing art with fashion to create a style and a look that was truly unique and that looked as if she'd literally just strutted from the catwalk onto the sidewalk and is something that I have the up most respect for, for her confidence and craft. She was born in London, one of the most (if not the most) fashionable cities in the world, a city that thrives in style, culture and fashion in its own way. She was one of four children and was most successful of them all, starting with her studying at Columbia University and moving around to various locations around the globe, picking up inspiration and culture wherever she went. In 1981 she met and married her first husband Nicholas Taylor and was introduced to American Vogue editor Anna Wintour. And so it began, the ladder was at her feet for her to become a success within the fashion industry, working her way into legendary magazines such as Tatler, Vogue and The Sunday Times Style Magazine. She went on to befriend fashion and art legends alike including Andre Leon Talley and Andy Warhol himself and was a regular party girl in many cities including London and New York. 

Her discovery of some of the most influential and talented people of our time is also something that I marvel at: I love seeing people on the streets, stopping them and screaming "I LOVE your style". She discovered the legendary talent Alexander McQueen in the late '90s and purchased his entire graduate catwalk collection for £5,000, paying it off in installments of £100 a week. The two became inseparable, taking the fashion world quiet literally by storm with her amazing contacts and his amazing and untouchable talent, they were a force to be reckoned with. But along the way she picked up and discovered other talents adding them to her list of fashion forward troopers. Philip Tracey was another one of her discoveries. The two shared a flat in London whilst Philip created hats and head pieces that would give even Coco Chanel a run for her money back when she started in the early 20th Century, using Izzy as her real life model to strut down the London streets and show off his work. She described Sophie Dahl as "a blow up doll with brains", exploding her onto the model scene and launching her career back in the late 90s alongside McQueens to become a legend in her own right away from the spotlight of her Grandfather and legendary children's author Roald Dahl, modelling for houses such as Versace, Alexander McQueen, Pringle and Gap.

But it was not to last. Her career as legendary as it was, was to take an effect on her happiness when was she cast away from the world of fashion magazines and was isolated from McQueen who had moved to Paris to further his career in fashion and design. Her battle against depression was one that was to end in tragedy when in 2007 she took her own life, having been discovered by her Sister Lavinia in a bathroom at a party she was hosting, drinking a bottle of weedkiller and saying "I'm worried that I haven't taken enough". Her funeral was held at Gloucester Cathedral on May 15th 2007 and was a tribute to her work, her life and her talent with all the people she had inspired, discovered and loved paying homage to her life.

Although she may be gone, we still celebrate and remember her life and work as a fashionista, a writer, a legendary party girl and a woman with a huge passion for fashion. Her life and legend still lives on within the industry today through the luxurious work of the House Of McQueen and through celebrities like Lady Gaga and fashionistas alike that channel her style and looks. She was one of a kind and still till this day there isn't a moment that passes where her work, her legacy, her contributions to the fashion industry and her discovery of truly talented designers, crafters and models will be forever remembered. Thank you Izzy, we love you.


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