Isabella Blow was such a mentor to Alexander McQueen and milliner Phillip Treacy during her lifetime that she even gave them workspace at her own home when they were too skint to afford a studio.
Now her sisters are arranging an auction of the iconic fashion pieces she collected in her lifetime in order to settle the debts on her estate. The collection will go for sale in September at Christie’s. A spokesperson for the auction house said, “It is sure to be a landmark auction, providing as it will a fascinating insight and perspective on this great champion of young designers and avant-garde fashion”.
When Blow died in 2007 after battling depression and cancer, Phillip Treacy not only lost his mentor and champion but also his best customer. Isabella was rarely seen out in public without one of the sculptural hats by Treacy that had become her trademark.
McQueen for his part, was supported by Blow from the moment she saw his graduate collection at Central Saint Martins, which she then bought from him, piece by piece. She paid him in weekly instalments while he delivered the pieces to her in bin bags.
The vacuum left in the fashion world by the deaths of both McQueen and Blow is ongoing. Now Isabella’s legacy will be celebrated as well as that of the designer, whose eponymous label is to continue trading (although a successor has not been officially named).
A coffee table book will accompany the auction, while two other authors are working on books about the stylist and muse. One, by her widower, Detmar Blow, with Tom Sykes, and the other by the London-based fashion writer Lauren Goldstein Crowe.
- Naomi Attwood