Daphne Guinness On Why She Blocked The Isabella Blow Auction

In May, famed auction house Christies was gearing up to sell a large part of Isabella Blow‘s incredible fashion collection this upcoming September — including over 90 Alexander McQueen pieces, 50 Philip Treacy hats, and a collection of of Manolo Blahnik shoes.

But in a rare twist, before the auction began, one woman took out her check book and settled the matter in one fell swoop. Daphne Guinness , best friend to Blow and style icon in her own right, bought the entire lot of Isabella Blow’s auction.

Guinness finally opened up in a tear jerking piece published by the Financial Times on why she stopped the sale.

“I shall never get over Issie’s absence, and when I heard her estate needed to be settled so that her sisters could pay off its debts, the realisation of what that would entail was really the last straw. The planned sale at Christie’s could only result in carnage, as souvenir seekers plundered the incredible body of work Issie had created over her life…

Indeed, in many ways, the auction would not be merely a sale of clothes; it would be a sale of what was left of Issie, and the carrion crows would gather and take away her essence forever. With biographical books and movies about to appear, the timing made me absolutely nauseous and I know she would have hated it. Isabella was my friend when she was alive, and that fact is unchanged by her death, and as her friend I did not want anybody misappropriating her vision, her life and her particular genius.”

Anxious to get her best friend’s life belongings off of the auction block, Daphne called some of her friends who also know Isabella to ask their advice. Philip Treacy, Shaun Leane, Amanda Harlech, and David LaChapelle all agreed: the sale must be stopped. Thankfully, Christies understood. (Though, to be fair, they also got paid.) And while we were itching for images from a catalogue that will never be printed, we understand, appreciate, and are even thankful for Daphne’s heart-filled decision to procure the collection.

So what happens now? Daphne has yet to make a firm decision. “I would like this unique collection, marked by her grace and the fact it was so intimately hers, to allow people (whether students, lovers of fashion, historians) to remember her and benefit from her legacy,” she said.

Is that a museum we smell?


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