Thursday, December 23, 2010

Isabella Blow

* I mistakingly wrote that Isabella Blow was a milliner in my original post. She did indeed wear many amazing hats in her life, but she didn't design hats herself:)
I first learned about fashion editor Isabella Blow when designer Alexander McQueen died earlier this year. She was his muse by all accounts. I wanted to find out more about this genuine English eccentric, so I Googled her name only to find out that several years ago, she had committed suicide. McQueen also took his own life. Last week, I read a book review in the Toronto Star about Blow by her widowed husband Detmar Blow, appropriately titled Blow by Blow. Today, I decided to use an Indigo gift card and buy this book as a little Christmas gift to myself. Problem was, I couldn't think of Isabella Blow's name at the time. I managed to convince a clerk to Google "McQueen muse" and sure enough, he discovered that they had one copy of the book in the fashion section.

Of course, I couldn't find the book in the fashion section, so I had to ask another clerk. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Oh, hello. I was told that you have one copy left of Blow by Blow. Could you help me find it?"
Clerk: "Who is the author?"
Me: "Blow."
Clerk: "Who is it about?"
Me: "Isabella Blow. She was a hat designer. English. Very famous in those circles."
Clerk: (scanning section) "Blow, Blow, Blow..."
Me: "It's called Blow by Blow, it's by a guy called Blow, about Isabella - his wife. But she's dead now."
Clerk: "Here it is" (shoves it in my hands).
Me: "Thanks."

I can't wait to read it. Do Google Isabella Blow in the meanwhile if you're interested in modern-day surrealist fashion design. Here are some pictures from the book.

Oh, on a totally different note, my scarf is looking a little better. I pulled out my seriously wonky stitching and started again. It's still not perfectly straight at the sides, but it's not looking like Krusty the Clown's tie anymore. I figure, it's my first project and I can stretch it out to make it look more even if necessary. I'm sure Martha Stewart would scold me if she heard of such poor craftsmanship.
Sorry about the photo quality. Right now in Toronto we seem to go from harsh light to no light at all.


  1. Thanks for the Isabella info. How interesting. I think we all have days where we want to be sleek and stylish, well, those of us who aren't anyways...

    Hey, your crocheting is shaping up fast! You should have left your original stitches in, that way you could have seen your progress along the length of it. :)

    Merry Christmas Eve!

  2. Vanity Fair had an in-depth article on Isabella Blow a couple of years ago (I think it was then, I dunno, time seems to melt into one big blob lately). Interesting woman. It's somehow comforting and intriguing to think that an artist has a 'muse'.

    On another note, I was at VV yesterday and scored my FIRST Pyrex item. "Pyrex England" - a covered casserole dish for my pending non-bird stuffing (the sad, understudy stuffing that didn't make the cavity).

    Your scarf is shaping up. Good work!

    This is my first comment on any blog, so if it ends up where it doesn't belong I apologise.


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I'm a slightly off-beat Toronto-area teacher who enjoys writing and photography. I come from a family of collectors and now I'm dragging my own family around to yard sales. It's just a bit of fun. Enjoy the scenes.