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Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Over the years, whenever Issy would call me up to urge me to see someone new, I would do it because she thought it was important.' - Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, American Vogue 'You were a one off, a genius friend, your own creation in a world of copycats and I will miss you for the rest of my life.' - Rupert Everett, in his eulogy at Isabella Blow's funeral 'She was original, impactful, generous-minded and spotted some of the greatest talents.' - Geordie Greig, Editor of the Evening Standard and formerly editor of Tatler 'She was the most intelligent and creative person in fashion. In many ways she was the British queen of fashion. She was intoxicating. You could never get enough of her. She was a free spirit.' - Philip Treacy 'She 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 - as well as being credited with discovering Hussein Chalayan and Stella Tennant.' - Vogue 'Mourned the world over by an industry that has lost a Muse with whom there was never a dull moment.' - Daily Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The news of Isabella Blow’s suicide in 2007 shocked the international fashion world. A true patron of couture, she is credited with having discovered and fostered the careers of famed designers Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, among others, becoming their great muse, friend, and confidante. She also discovered models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl, yet it was images of Issie in these designers’ creations that became instantly iconic. Isabella’s aristocratic ancestry was as colorful as her manner of dress, her childhood was adventurous and, at times, tragic, and her thirty-year career in fashion was legendary.

Written with compassion, adoration, and deep insight by Detmar Blow, her devoted husband of eighteen years, in collaboration with writer Tom Sykes. Blow by Blow is, at once, an outrageous behind-the-scenes romp through the worlds of fashion and high society, and a poignantly candid view of the tortured inner life of a rare and conflicted spirit.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062020870
  • ASIN: B0051BNYU6
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By The_Dark_Lady_2 on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This aptly named biography of fashion stylist and zeitgeist arbiter Isabella, by her widower Detmar (with Tom Sykes) is a fairly comprehensive account of her early life, her obsession with emerging artists and Hilles (the Blow family seat) and her final spiral into suicidal depression. This book names names, so much so that it can be confusing to follow when the author lapses into first name references. It is sometimes difficult to follow the course of events, such as Isabella's education, as the narrative moves forward and backwards in time quite clumsily with little signalling. The genius of Blow was in both her personal style and her ability to identify, and nurture, new talent. The reader gets some idea of the artists she nurtured (Philp Treacy and Alexander McQueen the most famous designers and Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl the most prominent models) but less of her own amazing style - the photographs are quite patchy. What this book does better is depict her frustration with her inability to commercialise her talents, and her decline into bipolar madness and ultimate suicide. The book suffers from poor editing, with numerous typos. Quite a good read, but doesn't adequately convey why Blow was such a sensation on the fashion scene in the late 80's and 90's.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This biography, written by the subject's widower, tells of the ups and downs in the life of his fashionista wife, Isabella Delves Broughton Blow.

"Issie" at 5 years old witnessed her brother's drowning. Her need for parental love and support was met with a coldness implying blame. When her mother divorced her father, she left the household with handshakes for her children. Her father gave even less affection. I believe this sort of treatment was a major factor in producing Issie's self-absorption, exhibitionism, materialism and eventual suicide. I think of Princess Diana advising parents to "Hug your children."

Issie's father leaving his fortune to his second wife, and naming Isssie for less inheritance than her grandparents left their servants, should have been anticipated. Issie blew an earlier inheritance that seemed to be of some size. This profligacy I'm sure was noted, but never discussed by her penny-pinching father. I would guess that his will was due to his hating to think that all he had worked for would be piddled away. For Issie this was (understandably, since no explanation was given) a rejection that rocked her already fragile self worth.

Issie apparently bought into the system that was so harmful to her. She yearned to produce a male child (then, according to custom, he would inherit the family estate) and felt a failure when she couldn't. Her rank among the British aristocracy gave her a sense of entitlement for things that she could not afford. Appearances had to be kept, so she couldn't ask her successful protégés for a royalty or a position. Detmar defines a total cash bleed, but the purchase of jewelry, homes, decor and cars (a "new Bentley" gets a passing mention) blithely continues.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paula Calvert on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two things I learned about Isabella's life (other than the fact that she was more eccentric in her daily life, not just in her dress) is that her husband, Detmar, loved her so much, and was so patient, and it really shows. He was inspired by her too. She was a ray of sunshine to all around her.
The second thing I wasn't completely aware of is McQueen's betrayal of her.

In the end, you remember she was a bright light for everyone, if not for herself.
An excellent read. A quick read. I couldn't put it down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By american woman on May 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had read "Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion" by Lauren Goldstein Crowe, first, and it was a very good primer as an in-depth introduction to the extraordinary life and personality of Isabella Blow. But reading "Blow by Blow" by Detmar Blow with Tom Sykes, was especially in-depth, as Detmar Blow was married to Isabella, and it was a very intimate portrait, and loving as well. I am grateful that he opened up his and her lives together to us readers, in such detail and compassion, and honesty. I have to say it was a real page turner and I was sorry that the book ended (I wanted to keep reading), but most sorry that the world has lost such an extraordinary and outrageous personality that Isabella Blow was, at such a relatively young age, and tragically so. It is a testament to her that so many people loved her and wanted to preserve and share her memory with others.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the worlds of fashion, art and music, as well as aristocracy and British eccentricity. One of best character studies I have ever read.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By traveler 21 on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's a sad story but an uplifting one too. A heck of a read. Funny. Gossipy. Tragic. Moving. Romantic. Unputdownable.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kelpenhagen on December 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loving this book - it's a lovely and personal account of Isabella Blow. So personal - humorous, moving, and at times, so sad! It's an easy read - entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By missmickeesunshine on September 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Fashion icon Isabella Blow (1958-2007) was known for taking her creative vision to the top of the world wide fashion industry, while generously promoting/endorsing the work of other artists/designers. Isabella's (IB) husband of over 18 years Detmar Blow has authored "Blow by Blow" a stunning and thoughtful memorial tribute to his beloved late wife. Family photos are generously included.

IB was born into the British aristocratic Delves Broughton legacy, dating back historically over 600 years. Jock Delves Broughton, IB grandfather squandered, gambled, poorly invested away much of the family wealth, and was divorced by his wife Vera. He promptly remarried divorcee Diana Caldwell, and moved with her to Happy Valley, Kenya. The time they spent in Kenya is chronicled in the book "White Mischief" (2014) by James Fox. Jock ended his life by suicide in 1942.
IB miserly father Evelyn Broughton and her mother Helen would divorce, following the drowning death of her 3 year old brother. IB would be haunted by this tragedy throughout her life. Evelyn would leave the majority of the family wealth to his second wife, betraying his daughters by leaving only a pittance for them in his will.

IB was the first woman in her family to work for a living. In 1982 she was living in NYC and hired as an assistant by Anna Wintour of Vogue, she also worked in the UK at the Tatler. Usually IB worked as a fashion editor/consultant, and was known for discovering Stella Tennant, Sophia Dahl, hat designer Philip Treacy, and fashion designer Alexander McQueen. It was interesting to note that IB photos, creations, were advertised world wide. In her fashion shows she was allowed expense accounts, and often used her own money to express her creative vision.
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