Wednesday
Aug242011

The Page of Enlightenment

“To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all.”
- Oscar Wilde

Isabella Blow was certainly a rare bird. She lived life with exquisite bravado. Her flamboyant confidence in fashion is the stuff of legend. Tragically, Isabella ended her life by committing suicide in 2007. Many people, previously unaware of Isabella Blow’s amazing contributions to the world of fashion, may have recently seen the Alexander McQueen exhibition “Savage Beauty”, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which exposed Isabella to scores of people as the muse of Alexander McQueen. She in fact discovered him.

 

 

Having just experienced the McQueen exhibition, I decided to read Isabella Blow a Life in Fashion, an extraordinary biography written by Lauren Goldstein Crowe.

 

 

The book is one of those books that you can’t put down. As soon as I finished it I started reading it again.  The first read was a journey; the second read; a discovery. I knew about Isabella’s work and some of her contributions to fashion. However, I was not fortunate enough to know the person. It’s terribly sad discovering the person, behind the work, after they are gone.

 

Isabella photographed by Zanna for Liberty

Crowe wrote “Isabella lived frenetically, so that any pain or disappointment in her life was dulled in comparison to the bright light she emitted. In the end, keeping the fire burning was just too exhausting. She succumbed to the fire she had created and was consumed.” If you have not yet read "Isabella Blow a Life in Fashion", I highly recommend you do so.

Also, in an article from “The World of Interiors”, Natasha Garnett writes about the Salon that Isabella created in her Eaton Square flat. “A place where art could meet fashion, where all worlds could collide…”  Guests included close friends such as Philip Treacy, milliner to a long list of royals.

 

Philip and Isabella together photographed for Liberty.

Other friends included Daphne Guinness, Manolo Blahnik, Rupert Everett, Bryan Ferry, Nick Rhodes, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.  “Rock stars rubbed shoulders with royalty, models conversed with writers, artists from the East End mingled with aristos from the West Country.”

 

Isabella’s Venetian lace wing hat created by Phillip Treacy rests on a window seat in her Eaton Square drawing room, “The World of Interiors”

 

The Eaton Square drawing room, “The World of Interiors”

On a mantle is the Treacy hat that adorned the casket at Isabella’s funeral at Gloucester Cathedral, “The World of Interiors”

Photograph, dailymail.co.uk

During Isabella’s funeral service, actor Rupert Everett spoke of his close friend, “you are a one off, a genius friend, your own creation in a world of copycats and I will miss you the rest of my life.”

 

Isabella photographed by Steven Meisel

A movie is in production.  I can’t wait to see it.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Isabella photographed for “Russian Vogue”