Sunday, 17 November 2013

A genuine muse in a world of phonies























From an article by Andrew O'Hagan in the New York Times' "T" magazine:
The outlandish, deeply unusual former assistant at Vogue who became mentor to a generation of fashion designers, editors and photographers, Isabella Blow is the subject of a new exhibition set amid the Neo-Classical splendour of London’s Somerset House.

The surroundings are appropriate, for this is not just a show but an acknowledgement of how her sense of style opened the minds of her peers. She is hereby raised into the pantheon, lauded for the very personal vision that once disgusted the establishment.

Blow was eccentric from her top feathers to the paint that adorned her toes. I used to see her at parties sometimes, and she was a fantastically alarming person; when she smiled, throwing her head back, you saw a sneering mouth so red with lipstick that it was like an open wound. She never seemed like just another one of the fashion crowd: she was a visionary who ripened with new ideas every morning, not every season, and was a genuine muse in a world of phonies.

True eccentrics - the Isabella Blows, the Vivienne Westwoods, the Anna Piaggis and the Stephen Tennants, as if there could ever be more than one of each - are the kind of people whose entire existence is devoted to individuality and innovation. That’s what makes a real eccentric: they really mean it, and they’re willing to suffer for it. Their social function is to explode our preconceptions about what beauty is and what good taste means. Eccentrics raise the bar on the impossible.

Yet, unfortunately, there are a few too many fake ones out there now. These are the imitators, the publicity scavengers, the ones who think it’s merely about fame or attention. They seem to be working not from a brilliant fund of ideas or from a conviction that their outer selves must be used to express a fascinating inner landscape. On the contrary, they’re just show-offs who dress up for the cameras. For people interested in our contemporary times, this is an important distinction: the true eccentric gives us more mystery, more wonder about being human, a new side to beauty, while the faux-eccentric gives us less of everything.
Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is on at Somerset house from 20th November to 2nd March 2014.

8 comments:

  1. Very good post. This lady Isabella is in a lot of news lately. I read that a photographer named Nick Knight hinted that a film about Isabella Blow is likely to be made and Lady Gaga is up for the role. Personally I think Gaga is overrated and egocentric. She peaked with Alejandro and then she went establishment and the thrill was gone. I think Anglo/French actress Lou Doillon would be better for the role. The resemblance is spot on and so will be the accent. RIP Isabella.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GaGa is presumably the person about whom Mr O'Hagan is thinking when he refers to "the imitators, the publicity scavengers, the ones who think it’s merely about fame or attention...just show-offs who dress up for the cameras." The very thought of such a "faux-eccentric" even being considered for a role portraying the magnificent Isabella Blow leaves me in a state of horror. I know little of Mlle Doillon, but at the very least she has the genes of Jane Birkin, so must have some genuine panache... Jx

      Delete
  2. Ga Ga to play the adorable Isabella Blow. Now that would be gaga indeed, totally insane.

    Fab photos of the divine Ms Blow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is, without any extant sense of proportion these days in the world of movie-making, the ghastly GaGa project might just happen. And the real world will groan.

      “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” - Oscar Wilde

      Jx

      Delete
  3. I just adore the look on number 6 & 7!!!! Where to wear them? Oh screw it. I'll just wear it around the house! Lovely post darling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think look #7 is just perfect for everyday wear... In fact, they all are. Jx

      Delete
  4. In England today, the 'imitators' are invariably found running about, screeching 'I'm completely mad!' Argh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are, unfortunately, everywhere these days. I abhor the trend of poseur-ism for its own sake and the dearth of actual talent in the art/music/fashion world these days. Thank heavens we still have the likes of Viv Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Daphne Guinness and Grace Jones to comfort us. Jx

      Delete

Please leave a message - I value your comments!