Blow vs. Crowe: Two Bios Resurrect Isabella Blow

The book jackets of Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow (HarperCollins) and Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion (St. Martin’s Press), two rival biographies of the fashion editor, both to be released on Nov. 9, tease with a nearly identical sentiment: In 2007, the fashion world woke up to news that its most eccentric figure had drunk a bottle of Paraquat, a pesticide, and succeeded in what was her seventh suicide attempt. The books tell the same devastating and often dazzling story with a few minor discrepancies that are to be expected when the tales are assembled, respectively, by Ms. Blow’s widower, Detmar Blow, along with writer Tom Sykes; and fashion journalist Lauren Goldstein Crowe. (It is the latter, however, whose book has already been optioned for a film.) But the truth is, knowing what we do about Ms. Blow, we suspect the only thing that would have pleased her more than two competing biographies would be three, or five, or possibly 10 of them, written by both friends and strangers.

The Observer conducts a brief comparison. 

[Also, view a gallery of Blow’s Greatest Hats.]