Style Icons: Isabella Blow

Otherwise known (by me) as 'the lady with the fabulous hats', Isabella Blow is a true style icon. Credited with discovering Alexander McQueen and Sophie Dahl (whom she found sobbing in a doorway and described as "a blow up doll with brains"), Blow was also editor of Tatler magazine. To many, she was the very pinnacle of English eccentricity, she was certainly hard to ignore and she is a fashionable icon to anyone out of the ordinary.

At his graduation show, Blow asked to buy McQueen's entire collection - it cost her £5, 000, which she paid off in weekly installments of £100. She said, "When I said, 'I know this sounds weird, but I want to buy the whole of your collection', Alexander McQueen offered to sell me a coat for £350. I said, 'That's a lot for a student'. He said, 'But I made it'. In the end I bought it all for £5, 000, but it took me a long time to pay for it." - Vogue UK

"If you met Isabella, the sort of charm of Isabella's hat wearing is that she wears hats like she's not really wearing a hat at all. She feels much more normal when she's wearing hats than when she's not. She really doesn't think there's anything strange about this sort of hat." - Philip Treacy.

After deciding on a medieval theme for her wedding dress, Blow asked Treacy to create a suitable head-dress. He said, "I wanted to base the hat on a 1930s play called The Miracle... I couldn't believe I'd hit upon the one person who didn't expect tulle and veiling and pearls and that for her wedding hat". Blow then let Treacy work out of her London flat, and subsequently opened up shop next door. He has since designed couture hats for Chanel, Valentino, and Givenchy.- Design Museum

Blow at her 1989 wedding to Detmar Blow

"It's not a mad hatter's tea party," she says sternly. "It's meant to be a sensual, erotic display. You're there to get a new husband, a new boyfriend, a new girlfriend, whatever. And you can get it. The hat is a means to an end, a marriage contract. It's everything. It's a sensual thing - the idea of catching somebody like a spider in a web. It's the old fashioned cock-and-hen story, the mating dance. Men love hats. They love it because it's something they have to take off in order to fuck you. Anyone can wear a hat." - The Guardian

Tragically, Blow passed away on the 7th of May, 2007. She reportedly died from suicide. Her obituary read:

"Heads would invariably swivel as Blow entered any fashion arena - be it a run-down warehouse in the East End or a rarefied atelier in Paris. Her dress-code remained an elegant version of the fashion cliché " classic with a twist". Teetering on satin stiletto Manolos, wearing couture gown, feathered hat and smeared ruby lipstick, Blow was a dishevelled bird of paradise who didn't give a damn about convention. She loved to gossip, talking 20 to the dozen, dropping names, witticisms and acute observations, and invariably ending her sentences with a deafening roar of laughter. In the manner of penniless aristocrats everywhere, Blow was no good with money and identified with Oscar Wilde's assertion that "anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination"."

So, when you're feeling in a bit of a rut, take a cue from Isabella and adorn your beautiful noggin with a hat, sparkly hairclips, beret, feathered headdress, giant lobster or massive bow! Wear it to lunch with your mother, dinner with your boyfriend, to walk the dog, go grocery shopping, attend a lecture, go to a cooking class, to fall in love, kiss your lover, and generally be fabulous!




  1. magic)) love it! nice post!!

  2. in her next life she is growing even more unique. i have faith in that opinion at least.


Thank you for your comment! x

I'm a freelance writer who blogs about Perth (my old home), Paris (my new home), fashion, food, and everything else that takes my fancy. Have a look around and enjoy!