Jules's Reviews > Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow

Blow by Blow by Detmar Blow
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Apr 11, 11

bookshelves: biography, cultural-icons
Read in April, 2011

I have always been impressed with the unique style of Isabella Blow and this book has contributed in some way to a greater understanding on my part of this larger than life yet vulnerable character. Written (possibly subjectively) by her husband Detmar after her tragic death, this book traces the life of Isabella from a childhood lived between privilege and tragic events and documents aspects of her career progress as well as her mental instability and ultimate demise and untimely suicide via ingesting weedkiller. Husband Blow paints his wife Blow (hence the title ‘Blow by Blow’ – a clever one!) as something of a creative genius blighted by constant anguish throughout her life. Whilst the first sixty per cent or so of the book is utterly inspiring and uplifting to those of a creative persuasion, the reader quickly feels Blow’s world falling apart during the last forty per cent or so and her husband’s narrative despair can easily be felt. All in all, the richness of Isabella’s creative and personal life is well-documented by her husband and after completion I, at least, feel curious to read more about the life and cultural contributions of this modern day artistic and creative genius. The book is beautifully presented and the cover photograph is an ethereally beautiful one that captures the essence of Blow feminine (all hat, eyes, lipstick and zany British femininity). As well as black and white and colour photographs ‘au centre’, the book is also interspersed with historical and narrative photographs and artefacts throughout. An inspiring read and I am now captivated to read more on Blow’s contributions to the media and arts worlds.
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