I remember Isabella Blow. She was an inspirational woman, one who had fun with fashion and wasn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. Boy, did she stand out! In the fashion crowd, that’s saying something.
My first (and only) connection with Isabella Blow was while I was doing work experience at Tatler in 2006, the year before she died. Blow was Fashion Director there (she started her career in the Eighties as Anna Wintour’s assistant at US Vogue), having returned to Tatler in 2001 after years working elsewhere, notably at The Sunday Times.
During my work experience, Isabella Blow was off work sick, I assume after her suicide attempts, and she had called in to the office to speak to a colleague. Being the work experience girl, I – of course – answered the phone. She asked for the editor and I said I’d put her through. Before that though (with my heart in my throat), I told her that I had followed her career and front-row outfits and, basically, that I adored her! Any other top fashion editor might have been aloof in their response, embarrassed perhaps, but Isabella Blow was nothing short of delightful. She was incredibly warm and friendly and spoke to me in the way a posh aunt might have done; she said I was a darling and wished me all the best with my time at Tatler and beyond.
That phone call lasted less than a minute, but I’ll never forget it – in a frightening new world that often seemed cold to a young girl from an old fishing village, Isabella Blow taught me that some people, regardless of status, are good and kind, and this is the reason why I will visit Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House.