I was reading an article in the July 23, 2007 New York magazine the other day. The article called, “The Sad Hatter“, is about the sad life of Isabella Blow. Isabella lived a charmed life to outsiders but in the inside she was depressed and ended up taking her life.
“No one,” says [Anna] Wintour, “had an eye like Issie. The more corporate of us look at everything differently than someone like Issie, so whenever I got a phone call that Issie said I should see something I would go.”
And if you know Ms. Wintour you know that was a big compliment.
Isabella was a British magazine editor and international style icon. The muse of hat designer Philip Treacy, she is credited with discovering the models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl as well as the fashion designer Alexander McQueen. She befriended Andy Warhol and seemed to have been romantically involved with Jean-Michel Basquiat.
But she was also a self-confessed depressive. She had a fragile sense of identity and her insecurities had been excacerbated by the breakdown of her marriage to the art dealer, Detmar Blow as well as her inability to have children. (telegraph.co.uk)
Another big factor in Blow’s depression was money and her inability to “find a home in a world she influenced”, wrote Cathy Horyn of The New York Times on May 10, 2007. As one of Isabella’s friends, Daphne Guinness, told Horyn, “She was upset that [Alexander] McQueen didn’t take her along when he sold his brand to Gucci. Once the deals started happening, she fell by the wayside. Everybody else got contracts, and she got a free dress”. According to a 2002 interview with Tamsin Blanchard, it was Blow who brokered the deal in which Gucci purchased McQueen’s label. As photographer Mario Testino told Vanity Fair in September 2007, “She was brilliant at finding new things and could always find new ways of looking at things but it was hard for her to define her job, and it was hard to find ways to pay her. (Thanks Wikipedia).
All this brillance and all this anguish came to an end on May 7, 2007 when Isabella Blow drank a hefty dose of weed-killer. She died two days later in the Hospital. A sad tragic end to a vibrant artistic soul.
Ms.Blow contributed much to fashion and left an imprint on the fashion world that still reverberates today. But my favorite part of the article was the below quote that describes how she looked at fashion. I really like it because it describes how I too look at fashion:
“People think that fashion is all frivolity and done by people who can’t do proper jobs,” says the writer Adrian Gill, “but Issie understood that it is very, very serious business in terms of civilization and culture. It’s the one piece of culture that every single person in the world participates in. Not everybody reads poetry or listens to music, but every single person in the world gets up in the morning and puts on something, and whether you like it or not, that’s a statement about who you are.“