Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forthcoming Biographies on Isabella Blow

Two biographies of Isabella Blow are in the works, and they’re taking very different views of the talented and troubled fashion stylist, who committed suicide in 2007. Lauren Goldstein Crowe, co-author of the upcoming “The Towering World of Jimmy Choo” (Bloomsbury, 2009), is penning a book that will focus on “the industry side of things, Isabella’s role as muse and her life — and career — in the greater context of luxury goods,” according to the author. Crowe believes Isabella may have been the last of a dying breed. “There are fewer and fewer roles in fashion for a purely creative persona,” she said. Her book will be published by St. Martin’s Press in December 2010.

Blow’s widower, Detmar Blow, and Tom Sykes, author of “What Did I Do Last Night?” (Ebury Press, 2007), are collaborating on a more personal account of Isabella’s life, according to Sykes, who met the subject through his sister, Plum Sykes, in the mid-Nineties. Their proposal is hitting publishers’ desks this week. Sykes said the book will draw on Detmar’s numerous diaries during the couple’s two decades together, and will also delve into Isabella’s colorful ancestry, unhappy childhood and experiences in America. Sykes said the challenge will be to “broaden the story and make it clear the book is not just for fashion people,” he said. “It’s really a love story: Romeo and Juliet meets Gormenghast in a Philip Treacy hat,” he said, referring to the British Gothic fantasy books from the Fifties.

So far, the rival authors are taking a gracious line toward each other. “There’s definitely room for two books,” said Crowe. “Mine will be a more detached, academic biography.” Sykes says his and Detmar’s book will be “the definitive biography of a British fashion icon,” but concedes an “outsider” is capable of telling Isabella’s story, too. “The fact that two books are being written just shows Isabella’s story is an amazing one,” he said. — Samantha Conti and Miles Socha (

1 comment:

Brilliant Asylum said...

Every time I think I am being tacky or out there, I think about how fabulous Isabella Blow was for doing her own thing. I can't wait to see how these two bios stack up against one another. I am waiting for your recommendation, then buying that one.
; )