Detmar Blow, husband of the late Isabelle Blow, has written a memoir based on the life of his amazing wife.
Documenting the various tragedies of her life, starting with the death of her two-year-old brother who died whilst in her care, Isabella Blow’s life was one of extremes of tragedy and inspiration. She fostered talent whilst nurturing desperate personal unhappiness.
She had close friendships with key figures in the fashion world including Sheikh Majed, Ronnie Newhouse and Nadja Swarovski. Credited with discovering Hussein Chalayan and Stella Tennant, she also discovered Sophie Dahl sobbing in a doorway; she bought Alexander McQueen’s entire degree show, and had Philip Treacy design her wedding hat when she married Detmar Blow in 1988. Offering insight into Blow’s relationship with esteemed milliner Philip Treacy, Blow said,
“In Philip Treacy she had found not only the creator of her wedding headdress, but her best friend for life and the greatest discovery of her career so far. They quickly developed an intense and creative relationship that he later likened to ‘having an affair with no sex’.”
During her career she worked as Anna Wintour’s assistant on American Vogue, then for Michael Roberts at Tatler, then British Vogue, then The Sunday Times – and ultimately she returned to Tatler as fashion director. Convinced she was ugly, she almost always wore a Treacy hat that would obscure her face.
In the memoir, Blow recalls the first time he and his late wife met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Salisbury.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off her. After the service, I waited for an opportunity to speak to her – and we immediately connected. Despite the brevity of our meeting, I knew I had fallen in love with her, and sat with her after dinner. We were kindred spirits and I ended up telling her about my father’s suicide. It was, I admit, an unusual chat-up line.”