18 March 2009

Blown Away- Bella, Bella

(photograph by Fritz von der Schulenburg- World of Interiors)

It is hard to know where to start when thinking about Isabella Blow. I recently mentioned her to one of my up to the moment friends and she didn't know who Isabella Blow was. Makes me wonder? Where do I start? I've seen many pictures of this stylish woman, this muse, and fashion Icon.

a Steven Meisel portrait of Isabella Blow in her Belgravia flat wearing Horsehair Helmet by Treacy

To begin~ Blow is credited for discovering model,writer Sophie Dahl, Alexander McQueen and the milliner Philip Treacy . Her collaborations with Treacy were the subject of a 2002 exhibition at the London Design Museum, featuring all the hats made for her by Treacy. A book by Treacy, When Philip met Isabella, featuring some of her most outrageous outfits, was published to accompany the exhibition.

photograph by Zanna

Isabella Blow's London flat has just been featured in The World of Interiors, mar.- written by Natasha Garnett and brilliantly photographed by Fritz von der Schulenburg. This interior is what seems the most au courant about Blow.

For me, the private interior can reveal much about its inhabitant. Isabella Blow's Belgravia flat does not disappoint. Her grandmother had lived in Eaton Square and Philip Treacy said "when Isabella was low she would walk down the street and go and sit on the step of her grandmother's house- and that gave her comfort." Anyone can understand this longing to reach back to a memory of a loved one-especially a grandmother- a time when as a child we were blissfully happy.

Isabella's friends Seng Watson were architect, Camilla Guinness-designer. Guinness relates Isabella Blow's packet of decorating ideas arriving at her office with a copy of an entire illustrated book of George IV and notes in violet ink pointing out colors she preferred. One labelled "Flesh Pink!"- pointing to the King's cheek.

Shimmering Purple wallpaper, Treacy Hats-displayed as beautiful Art, Candlelight day and night, Antiques, an eclectic mix of period style chairs, Baroque doors that once graced a ballroom, a Crystal Chandelier from Isabella's grandmother (Doddington Castle-the family home), and a "papal" table from the same, Modern art, A video installation in the fireplace with flames filmed at Hilles, Detmar Blow's family home.

A mix to delight the eye. unstudied Theatre. Whimsy. Period details. Historic references. Personal style.

Perhaps my favorite page in the article- A Turkish disco ball, graphic painting of the Duchess of Windsor by Simon Periton, Books and Books, Hats float on the wall and display on swan-like hooks.

The Bedroom with a beautiful antique velvet pelmet and drapery , plumes, feathers above. Antique mirrors and modern wool work art.

Isabella's Venetian Lace Wing Hat by Philip Treacy on a plum velvet window seat in her drawing room

Isabella Blow wearing Venetian Lace Wing Hat-photographer unknown- Treacy said Life was an occasion for Isabella-reason enough to wear his hats.

Isabella's Minaret Hat becomes ART .

beautifully transcendent photograph by Donald McPherson, Isabella wearing P.Treacy Disc Hat

The Ship Hat by Treacy rests on the mantle along with Treacy's Warhol collection-the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe, personal photographs and a finely detailed mosaic mirror in lilacs and lavenders. The flat feels as if someone just past through and dropped precious bits, creating one still life after another-

Isabella Blow died, age 48 in 2007. Her friend Rupert Evert spoke at her funeral in Gloucester Cathedral where she had married in 1989. " You are a one off, a genius friend, your own creation in a world of copycats and I will miss you for the rest of my life."

More posts about Isabella Blow in future.


  1. Augury. A fascinating look at this woman and it touched me. Thank you for the in depth post.I read the World article,your look with additional pictures and information were quite well done, beyond the article's scope.

  2. dear one- I must comment too. This is a lovely post, written with insight.

  3. thanks. BC-I know you must comment xo.

  4. Anon. thanks for the kind words. I am planning to do a follow up very soon. hope you will return to read more.

  5. GREAT!!!
    I met Issie in London in 1992.
    Ljerka Susanna Lukic, designer & writer
    Toronto, Canada



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