Monday, June 30, 2008

Dandy of the Day: Isabella Blow (1958-2007)

Isabella Blow was an English magazine editor and international style icon. The muse of hat designer Phillip Treacy, she is credited with discovering the models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl as well as the fashion designer Alexander McQueen (she bought his entire graduate thesis collection). Blow often said her fondest memory was trying on her mother's pink hat, a recollection that she explained led to her career in fashion. She worked with Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley at various points. As with Talley, half her work seemed to be expressing and asserting her personal aesthetic. In a 2002 interview with Tamsin Blanchard, Blow declared that she wore extravagant hats for a practical reason:
" keep everyone away from me. They say, Oh, can I kiss you? I say, No, thank you very much. That's why I've worn the hat. Goodbye. I don't want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love."
Toward the end of her life, Blow had become seriously depressed and was reportedly anguished over her inability to "find a home in a world she influenced". Other pressures included money problems (Blow was disinherited by her father in 1994). On May 6, 2007, during a weekend house party at Hilles, where the guests included Treacy and his life partner, Stefan Bartlett, Blow announced that she was going shopping. Instead, she was later discovered collapsed on a bathroom floor by her sister Lavinia and was taken to the hopsital, where Blow told the doctor she had drunk the weedkiller Paraquat. She died at the hospital the following day.

Images of Blow, in which her inimitable spirit is abundantly apparent, remain iconic illustrations of committed individualism. We at I Smell Therefore I Am believe that Blow might have worn any of the following:

Robert Piguet's Fracas - tuberose softened in butter.

Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower - the exact moment of

orgasm, bottled.

Ava Luxe Midnight Violet - a bed of violet glowing under the moon, the smell wafting upwards with each step taken through the woods.

Annick Goutal's Sables - a bonfire in the field, its smoke surrounding you, leaving with you on your clothes.


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