Tag Archives: Isabella Blow

Isabella Blow : Creativity in the Self Destructive

29 Jan

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Isabella Blow was an icon in British fashion; creating innovative styling looks, discovering models and designers, as well as serving as muse for top designers like Alexander McQueen & Philip Treacy. The exhibition, Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is a collection of her wardrobe purchased by Daphne Guinness and is currently showing at the Somerset House in London through March 2, 2014.

The show is a dream couture closet. Mannequins are lined up and dressed in Blow’s astounding fashion archives.  It’s a stylist’s heaven. As much as I loved the spectacular outfits by top designers like McQueen, Julien MacDonald, and Hussein Chalayan, there is an unspoken & disturbing aspect of the show. Yes, Blow is fabulous, amazing, , etc, etc…. but she was really fucked up.  She had multiple suicide attempts, which finally got her when she hit the weed killer. Why does this aspect feel so important to me? Well, first, I love a lost soul…my friends are a collection of lost souls (I say that with the utmost respect and love for them). There is a deepness there that resonates with me from my life experience…& yes I’ve had years of therapy-(which is a different blog ). It just seems that the psychology of the show is screaming to be discussed and instead it’s presented as “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary Fashion Goddess”-which has some truth, but instead should be “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary with Self-Destructive Behavior that Fuels Her Creative Fashion Goddess”. The exhibit begins with photos of her as child and growing up; an emotional hook that’s not followed through. There is an overt sense of mental illness and/or addiction that could be explored further.

When there is a discussion or even just a viewing of an artist like Van Gogh- you know because we are taught that he cut off his ear and went crazy, hence the O.C.D. brush strokes and intensity of the image. What we know about his personality really elevates the understanding of his work. Fashion is full of fucked up, narcissistic people denying personal demons- and that is what I saw and felt from this show. Fashion-fashion is insular and ego based. Allowing dysfunction to thrive is rewarded. This isn’t a 100% true statement for all fashion people, but if you’ve worked in fashion you know there is a lot of truth in it. I don’t know anything about Blow personally (besides the multiple suicide attempts & she was BFFs with McQueen); but using the theory of like attracts like, I question whether there were structures in her life that supported a healthy mental state. Comprehending this really gives the exhibition a greater sense of awareness into her innovation. Toward the end of the show I felt that everything looked like costumes that conceal emotional truths. The incredible hats & head pieces were true pieces of art, but here they function as symbolic (& literal) masks. I felt like I was sober at a wasted fashion rave…I just wanted to get out of the frenetic energy.

As intense for me viewing the show, I love any show that creates a deep emotional reaction. The exhibit made me wish she were my friend and I could help her somehow, more than marvel at her aptitude. A big disappointment to show was the finale-gift shop. I know museums have to make money but the Disneyfication of museum shows, especially something as cutting edge as Isabella Blow, hampered my experience. They are selling of all sorts of nick-nacks, faux relics and especially disheartening was the Nars makeup section where you can by your very own Isabella Blow inspired make up kit, not to mention you can smell just like Isabella when you buy her favorite perfume, Fracas; all targeted toward the hoards of young fashion student milling around sketching their favorite outfits. I think I may have more of an individual take on this show having dealt with addiction & such, than the majority of the reviewers. I really loved experiencing the fashion but at the cost of a bit of sadness; but such is life.

Glam Goddess Guinness Garage Sale for charity

13 Jun

Glam Goddess Daphne Guinness is selling off her old clothes…maybe not quite a garage sale but rather an auction at Christie’s London June 27. You know I adore Her-Fashion-Highness Guinness and I love her even more for doing this auction for the Isabella Blow Foundation. This foundation was created to “support aspiring art and fashion students and to facilitate further research in the fields of depression and mental health”. As a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and after years and years of therapy, I admire anyone who promotes any form of higher consciousness. After the  suicides of her friends such as Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, I’m glad Miss Guinness is doing something positive from such tragedy…which is how to learn and progress in a life lesson (aka: good karma). I have experienced many suicides of friends and family in my life and it’s such a horrible feeling to know a loved one was going through so much inner turmoil and I didn’t/couldn’t know/ help. I was so enamored of McQueen and his art. It so  happened that I was living a few minutes from his home when he died so I walked down to his house (I admit that I Googled it) that afternoon to drop off flowers in homage, & I was surprised to discover this body hadn’t been moved yet. I guess at this point I could go on telling my story (I was interviewed by CNN), but instead I’ll just say how great I think Daphne Guinness is and how much I would loooove to be at that auction, not that I could afford anything, or wear anything 😉 Interesting though that researching other blogs and articles on this auction I realized no one talks about what the Isabella Blow Foundation is; they are all about the sparkly world of fashion, not the reality behind it. That said,  I really wish the auction was at her house and we could go through her closets – oh  I can only imagine the amazing things I would find…and I’m talking shoes you dirty minded people!