Fabulous, fanciful and flamboyant Fascinators! We are captivated and love them. A hat? Headpiece? Crown? But we know that they are fancy, full of embellishments like lace, feathers or beads worn at formal occasions like the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. They catch our eye and we marvel at the designs, colors and the outrageous styles. They truly entertain us. During my research on fascinators, I came upon a British fashion editor, Isabella Blow, who discovered young, talented, unknown designers and launched their careers and brand, including the discovery of Philip Treacy in 1989. Isabella saw his wedding headdress he designed for a young bride. Realizing his talent, she invited him to London to work further on his collection and introduced him to Alexander McQueen. Treacy’s signature style of flamboyant fascinators hit the scene and catapulted into popularity. She was known as the “muse” of Treacy’s creations.
Her memoir appeared in an article in Vogue “Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore” where I discovered and learned more about her. She was born and raised in London, England, to an aristocratic family. Though born into wealth and title, Isabella’s life was full of tragedies that would later consume her life … the loss of a young brother who drowned in a family pool, parents’ divorce, failed marriages, business dejections, bipolar disorder and ovarian cancer, all eventually drove Isabella to take her life at age 48. Amidst these somber times, Isabella came to know and associate with artists, designers and editors … Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichenstein, Guy Laroche and Anna Wintour, to name a few. Most significantly, she was introduced to a struggling designer, Alexander McQueen and is credited for his discovery as well. Isabella Blow reminded me so much of our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who also recognized, supported and nurtured young, obscure or relatively unknown designers like Jason Wu and Tracy Reese, to advance their careers. Here’s a video of her: