Fashion World Celebrates Icon Isabella Blow
At Book Launch In New York City


Tom Sykes And Detmar Blow

The fashionable crowd gathered in the Anthropologie boutique at Rockefeller Plaza for the book launch of Blow by Blow, co-written by Detmar Blow and celebrated journalist Tom Sykes as a tribute to the extraordinary life of Detmar’s late wife, Isabella Blow. Many of the outfits worn by guests stood out, which was to be expected as the room was filled with friends, supporters and contemporaries of Isabella, who was one of the fashion world’s most adored and talented eccentrics. Several wore headpieces in tribute to her signature style.

Isabella, known to friends as “Issie,” was a rare example of a true trendsetter. Isabella was known and respected by industry authorities as one to turn to for innovation. A connoisseur of eclectic style, her tragic death in 2007 was mourned throughout the world, from fashion runways to magazine editorial offices.

Her accomplishments were the result of tireless effort and often taking daring risks, establishing her name in addition to those she discovered. It was Isabella who recognized and inspired the couture hat designer Philip Treacy and late fashion-forward innovator Alexander McQueen, and also launching the modeling careers of Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl. The story of Sophie shows Isabella’s willingness to break rules as well as her generous spirit. Isabella returned home one afternoon to find a young Sophie crying and smoking a cigarette on her doorstep. When the teen offered to help her with her boxes she invited her in, and upon hearing that her tears were a result of being forced to attend secretary school offered to launch a modeling career for her, despite the fact that she was a far cry from the typical waif model (she was a size 14).

Euan and Lucy Sykes Rellie (Tom’s sister) informally hosted those in attendance, whom included actress Gretchen Mol, jewelry maker Wren Britton, king of the Boom Boom Room Joey Jalleo, set designer Anne Koch and celebrated fashion journalist Lynn Yaeger. The launch included a reading by Detmar, and a gallery exhibition of iconic images from Isabella’s thirty-year reign over the fashion world. Regardless of her British background, it was appropriate that a launch was held in New York City. After all, it was here where her career in fashion began as an assistant to American Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Co-writer Tom Sykes is no stranger to the often gossiping and wild world of fashion. Though he started his writing career in the more subdued world of news reporting for the London Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph, Tom moved to New York in 2003 as a nightlife reporter and gossip columnist for the New York Post. He moved back across the Atlantic to Ireland, and when he’s not working on special projects like Blow by Blow he writes for a variety of publications including GQ magazine and the Daily Mail.

Following the fĂȘte, an invited group attended an informal dinner at Italian eatery Corsino, where they were joined by Mary Alice Stephenson, supermodel Hilary Rhoda, Amanda Ross and the new Page Six Editor Emily Smith. In the chic cozy ambiance of the restaurant the guests conversed, with the subject often turning to the woman of the hour, Isabella Blow.

The warm reception of Blow by Blow, and the number of people wearing their own Blow-inspired chapeaus last night, goes to prove that though her life ended sooner than it should have, her influence on the fashion world and beyond remains.

For more information about Blow by Blow visit its page at publisher Harper Collins’ website.