The Isabella Blow book war just won't quit. And the authors of the competing biographies--Tom Sykes, who cowrote Blow by Blow with Isabella's widower Detmar, and Lauren Goldstein Crowe who wrote Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion--continue to use the fashion blogosphere to duke it out. Crowe has spoken out again, though this time, instead of responding to Syke's latest outrage, she's taking issue with one of the sites covering the saga, lady blog Jezebel. Seems Crowe didn't like Jenna Sauers' implication, as she recapped the back-and-forth on Jezebel, that the authors were simply drumming up publicity at Isabella Blow's expense. "Far be it from us mere bloggers to act like some kind of voice of morality here, but a talented and troubled woman died and all these people can think about is their petty little publicity-chasing book-selling feud?" Sauers wrote. So Crowe sent a response to us and Racked, titled, "A Letter to Jezebel." Here it is, in full: How strange of you to recall, step-by-step, the grisly tale between myself and Tom Sykes ("Competing Isabella Blow Biographers Attack Each Other," November, 11, 2010) but when it comes to my completely coherent clarification to decide to "act like some voice of morality" and point out that "a trouble woman died," and accuse us both of pandering for publicity's sake.
Two competing biographies of Isabella Blow, widely regarded as one of the most brilliant and creative forces in fashion, hit shelves this week. There's Blow by Blow, Detmar Blow's biography of his late wife coauthored by Tom Sykes, and there's Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion by veteran fashion writer Lauren Goldstein Crowe. Crowe's is being optioned for a movie. Detmar's bio is the required reading for our first Fashionista book club (virtual) meeting. There's a lot of bad blood between the two books. At the New York launch party for Blow by Blow, Detmar told WWD that he had "no interest" in Crowe's book. Following the London launch party for Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion, Crowe wrote to tell Racked.com: "Personally I thought it more interesting that Detmar's sister and cousin were there as were both Isabella's sisters and her step-mother and a variety of cousins. Also Philip Treacy and Lucy Ferry who didn't attend Detmar's launch. But hey, that's the world we live in." And now Tom Sykes, coauthor of Blow by Blow (and brother of Plum and Lucy) is fighting back. He sent us a long, angry email to comment on what he called the "outrageous slur that has been made today on our book by Ms Crowe on the fashion blog racked.com." Here it is in full (we've bolded the best bits): 'Hey, that's the world we live in'? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Lauren Golsdstein Crowe's outrageous insinuation seems to be that somehow her book is the 'approved version' because Issie's sisters came to her book launch. This cannot go unchallenged. Lavinia, Isabella's beloved youngest sister, came to the launch of our book in London, and was an honored guest at the dinner afterwards at Annabels. Freddie, Lavinia's son and one of Issie's cousins, was also at our launch in New York. And, for God's sake, DETMAR WAS ISSIE'S HUSBAND FOR ALMOST TWENTY YEARS!!!!
Isabella Blow was one of the most brilliant, creative and fascinating people in fashion. Last night I got to talk with two people who were close enough with her to write a book about her life. Anthropologie hosted the launch party for Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow (which, in turn, is the launchpad for the Fashionista Book Club!). Anthropologie co-prez Wendy Wurtzberger felt the company and Blow's story were a great fit,. She took me through the amazing in-store gallery exhibition featuring iconic images and artifacts from Isabella’s life. Fun fact about one particularly interesting photograph of Issie and Detmar Blow, her husband and co-author of the book, in a field next to a castle: There is a mysterious bunch of flowers hanging at the top of the frame--those flowers are being held by Alexander McQueen. Next, we spoke to Detmar, who was wearing a suit that had “The Modern Art” printed all over it in pink letters so tiny they almost looked like pinstripes. “Alexander McQueen picked out the fabric,” he told me, “He said the one I had originally chosen was too pink.”
I picked up Detmar Blow's biography of his late wife, Isabella Blow, while at the shows in Paris. I read it one evening in less than two hours. I have a million things to say about Blow by Blow, but since the book won't be released in the US until November 9, I'm going to hold back on my lengthy opinion. Indeed, Blow by Blow is the ideal launchpad for the Fashionista Book Club, a series we've been wanting to start for some time now. On Friday, December 3 at 3pm we'll be hosting a live chat about the book right here on Fashionista. You'll be able to hear what each of us thinks about the book, and you'll also be able to voice your own opinion. In the meantime, pre-order your book here. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on your iPad or iPhone, you can also pre-order a digital copy. Enjoy Blow by Blow--we can't wait to hear what you think!