August 21 2014

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13 posts tagged "Isabella Blow"

Benoît Missolin’s Latest Hat Trick



Ever since his bunny ears caught the fashion world’s attention in 2008, Benoît Missolin has been churning out seriously fun, whimsical headwear informed by Pop references. Most recently, those included a pair of red sequined lips that mimic the gap-toothed sex appeal of Vanessa Paradis.

Despite his success, however, Missolin has decided of late that less is more, and has scaled back output to focus on artisanal techniques. “I wanted to hold onto the notion of Parisian chic while keeping it fun,” he told, speaking from his London studio. Any talk of Paris, especially at this point in the season, means couture. Here, Missolin debuts exclusively two of three new headpieces, called Tippi and Lola, which will be made-to-order only. “They’re very tribal couture,” he explains of the dramatic sweeps of black feathers, adding that he was going for a regal quality, but with a soft side—a touch Maleficent meets Issy Blow, if you will.

Benoît Missolin’s ready-to-wear accessories are sold in Le Bon Marché in Paris and, come fall, on

Photo: Courtesy Photos

Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric


2. Isabella Blow, 2002 (c) Diego UchitelCurator Alistair O’Neill only met the late Isabella Blow once. He was at an art opening with designer Julien Macdonald, one of the late, great Blow’s charges, whom he studied with at the Royal College of Art. “Isabella was wearing a famous Philip Treacy hat, which is in the exhibition. It had feathers around the eyes, which covered her nose and her mouth and her forehead,” he recalled. “I spent the evening talking to her and was completely fascinated. But all that I could concentrate on were her eyes, because I couldn’t really see her mouth. I could only just about listen to what she was saying, and I was just mesmerized by this image of these eyes being framed by the feathers. The combination of her intelligence and her laughing was really intoxicating,” he continued. “I’ve never forgotten that.”

On November 20, O’Neill, along with Shonagh Marshall and Central Saint Martins, will aim to bring the editor, patron, and muse’s work and wardrobe to life with the opening of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at the Somerset House in London. Before her tragic suicide, in 2007, Blow was a pillar of London’s emerging fashion community. Having worked everywhere—from British and American Vogue to The Sunday Times to Tatler—Blow is credited with discovering such designers as Alexander McQueen (as the story goes, she bought his entire graduate collection after it walked down the Central Saint Martins Runway in 1992), milliner Philip Treacy, Jeremy Scott, and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl (whom she once described as a “blow-up doll with brains”) and Stella Tennant.

Alexander McQueen and Isabella blow

Aside from being a steadfast supporter of young talents (Treacy and McQueen both lived with her at one point, and she not only gave the designers financial and editorial support but also fed them ideas from her wealth of historical knowledge—fashion and otherwise), Blow, who came from a complicated aristocratic background, was known as a great eccentric—both in her behavior and her dress. Her infamous wardrobe comprised the most extreme pieces by all of the conceptual up-and-comers she helped along the way. And, of course, Treacy’s hats were her screaming signature. Following her death, her sartorial collection was to be sold at Christie’s to settle her estate, but Blow’s friend Daphne Guinness swooped in at the last minute and purchased every piece, because that’s how Isabella—or Issy, as she was known—would have wanted it.

O’Neill, however, did not want to simply paint Blow as an eccentric. “I thought it was important to distance Isabella from those literary ideas of the English eccentric, because they’re often quite tragic,” he explained. “And I’m not sure Isabella was fully tragic—she was quite brave, and very funny. She had a very bored and black humor.” Furthermore, Blow always wore her outfits—whether it be a metallic McQueen corset or an ensemble crafted from brightly hued garbage bags—in a deeply considered manner. “Isabella used her clothes, her hats, and her accessories as a means to modify and transform herself,” said O’Neill. “She had a great eye for silhouette, and her hats were almost a means of plastic surgery for her face, without going under the knife,” added Marshall. “She said they can lift you, they can make you look different, and I think that was something that she really indulged in.” Continue Reading “Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric” »

The Online Community Doesn’t Understand Hats


Philip Treacy and Isabella Blow“The world of fashion has changed,” milliner Philip Treacy told The Telegraph this weekend. His statement was in response to a slew of cruel remarks that online commenters made about a hat he recently crafted for Dita Von Teese. “The power is with the consumer, which is not a bad thing, but hats are different. Hats are really for ultimate occasions, so when I make one, I try to do something different, something noticeable. Hats make people feel good, and that’s the point of them,” he continued.

The interview was conducted as a preview, of sorts, to the Isabella Blow exhibition that will open later this month at the Somerset House, in London. And online disapproval was not the only thing that rubbed the milliner—a protégé and great friend of the late fashion eccentric—the wrong way. “She thought she no longer mattered,” said Treacy of Blow, who before her suicide worried that fashion was for the young and that her unique and exceptional point of view was no longer relevant. “It’s all very well, them feting her now and going on about how wonderful and brilliant she was,” he told the newspaper. “There will be people at that exhibition who laughed at her when she was alive. They’re hypocrites, and they make my blood boil!”

Photo: Getty Images

R.I.P. Deborah Turbeville


Bath House, Vogue 1975

News broke late last week that photographer Deborah Turbeville died in Manhattan on Thursday from lung cancer at the age of 81. Having served as a fit model for Claire McCardell and an editor at Harper’s Bazaar early in her career, Turbeville introduced a personal, heady, and refreshingly feminine aesthetic to the world of fashion photography when, with the support of Richard Avedon, she began seriously taking pictures in the 1970s. “My photographs are extremely feminine,” she said in an interview with last year. “But it doesn’t have to do with any kind of conviction on my part. It’s all instinctive and spontaneous with me. There is a certain approach that women have. They do get into some kind of inner thing more than the male photographers do.”

That approach landed her editorials in publications like Vogue, W, and The New York Times. She worked alongside icons such as Diane Arbus, Polly Mellen, and Isabella Blow and even got arrested with Bob Richardson during a shoot for Harper’s Bazaar in Texas. Her legacy will live on through her moody, sometimes controversial images, which have been inspiring editors, stylists, and fellow photographers for decades. Here, a look back at the legendary lenswoman’s most memorable shots.

Photo: Vogue 1975; Courtesy of Rizzoli

Behind the Scenes with Swarovski: Creatures of the Wind


The Swarovski Collective—the crystal house’s initiative to help promising young designers and established names—was started in 1999, after Isabella Blow introduced the Swarovski family to Alexander McQueen. “We saw then the magic that resulted from putting our crystals in the hands of cutting-edge talent, how they push the creative boundaries and limits of creative craftsmanship,” says Nadja Swarovski, the initiative’s founder, who notes that collaborating with young designers has been the “cornerstone” of the project from day one. “The fashion industry is fiercely competitive, and it’s incredibly hard for young designers to fulfill their creative potential season after season,” she adds. Indeed, Swarovski has done its part—the initiative has helped over 150 talents since it launched. This season, fourteen brands—Mary Katrantzou, Creatures of the Wind, Suno, and Eudon Choi among them—have been supported by Swarovski and its stones. And to further celebrate the designers’ creative processes, Swarovski has made behind-the-scenes films that follow every label on its journey down the Fall ’13 runway. will be giving you exclusive looks at two of Swarovski’s films from each of the four fashion weeks. The series kicks off with Creatures of the Wind, above.