Just as I had been ignorant of her last struggles and her suicidal sufferings, I was also ignorant regarding the true scope of her accomplishments. Reading the scores of obits and profiles, I came to understand that the great Isabella was a woman of almost Vreeland-esque influence and creativity. The list of creative folk who were discovered and propelled to stardom by La Blow’s unstinting support and patronage is truly astounding: photographer Juergen Teller, model Stella Tennant, designer Julien MacDonald, among others.
Last week I was in the U.K. staying with my dad in the old people’s home where he now resides. On Tuesday, I seriously toyed with abandoning Terry Doonan for the day, jumping on the train to Gloucester and paying my last respects to this incredible woman on whose answering machine I had left all those unrelentingly gnat-like, annoying messages.
“Maybe you should go,” Terry said, “She seemed like such a nice, good-natured trout.”
When, the following day, I saw the outfits of the attendees—the capes, the plumed hats, the trains, the finery … and that was just the men—I was glad I hadn’t gone: I would have felt like a chav version of Agnes Gooch.
“If Izzy could have seen the glamorous send-off she got, then she would never have killed herself,” one funeral attendee told me upon returning to New York. I have decided that I like this daffy notion. For purely selfish reasons, I wish La Blow could have somehow previewed her send-off in a magical crystal ball and changed her mind. Maybe we could have chatted and had tea and scones—my treat! Instead, I am left with the gnawing feeling that I missed out on someone truly exceptional.
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