WWTBN: Isabella Blow

WWTBN: Isabella Blow

In this week's edition of "What Would They Buy Now?" V looks to fashion force and muse Isabella Blow, whose pioneering spirit continues to influence the fashion market today

In this week's edition of "What Would They Buy Now?" V looks to fashion force and muse Isabella Blow, whose pioneering spirit continues to influence the fashion market today

Text: Tania Farouki

Some say she was the epitome of British eccentricity, others that she upped the game of what it means to wear a hat. There is certainly no question about it: Isabella "Issie" Blow was truly a one-of-a-kind persona.

One only needs to delve into a cave of print wonders to dig out some of the many pages she edited and styled for a roster of publications, including British Vogue, The Face and Tatler for the fascination to begin. When a style is so easily recognizable, that is when you know you are in the presence of an authentic soul. In Blow's case, her editorial collaborations with the likes of Sean Ellis and David LaChapelle for instance, capture a most romantic and contemporary take on medieval (she did wear a mail coif to her wedding to Detmar Blow, after all).

Suffice to say, the (fashion) world will forever remain grateful to Blow's uncanny eye to discover raw British talent, from fashion design virtuoso Lee McQueen (of whom she has said "makes clothes fly") to milliner extraordinaire Philip Treacy by way of beauties Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl. Unsurprisingly, muse and consultant would become Blow's full-time activities.

But behind the skill to spot the beautiful lied a most vulnerable soul. Although coming from a family history of depression and suicide, Blow managed, despite life's disappointments (the loss of her hereditary fortune and the absent recognition of some of her discoveries), to stay true to herself until her tragic death in 2007.

Which leaves little to wonder as to why she continues to be celebrated today: largely thanks to her friend Daphne Guinness who purchased Blow's entire wardrobe prior to a scheduled Christie's auction and founded the Isabella Blow Foundation, Blow was the subject of a major retrospective at London's Somerset House back in 2013. Today, a handful of her epic pieces are currently on view at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, showcasing the icon's style legacy.

Were she still with with us today, there is no doubt she would have continued to champion humor in all sartorial choices—while also inspiring others to do the same. Still favoring armor-like structures in unlikely canvases (a silk-chiffon blouse or an intricate objet d'art-like glove), theatrical realness at its best (read: asymmetrical skirts, leather masks) and of course, her true love: nurturing young talent.

The Jacket: Gareth Pugh draped wrap-effect crepe jacket.
The Hat: Philip Treacy OC 100 headpiece.
The Bag: Roger Vivier Pilgrim small satin clutch.
The Blouse: Ronald Van Der Kemp ruffled printed silk-chiffon blouse.
The Beauty Item: Clé de Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick refill in bright red orange.
The Glove: Shaun Leane x Daphne Guinness Contra Mundum glove in gold and white diamonds.
The Shoe: Marco de Vincenzo feather-embellished satin sandals.
The Ring: Lydia Courteille ring in red rhodium gold, rubies and spinels.
The Skirt: Christopher Kane fringed patchwork panel skirt.
The Artwork: "Lobster Telephone" by Salvador Dalí (1936)
The Magazine: V99 featuring Gaga's Fashion Guard in a Deluxe Hardbound Box-Set In Clear Lucite.
Credits: HERO IMAGE: ISABELLA BLOW PHOTOGRAPHED BY STEVEN KLEIN, PUBLISHED IN V99.

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