Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chapter 5 Issy Blow















































One Summer Issy arrived with a new man, Matthew Mellon, from the American Mellon family he had the air of a sophisticated up town boy. She asked if she could she come and stay with him, as she and Detmar had broken up. Detmar had, at the time,a new girl friend, the exciting Stephanie Theobald, a woman with vibrant red hair. I still feel awkward saying Mathew's name, but it was and is hardly a secret. He had just split up from his wife Tamara. I sort of kept myself to myself. They went to parties together and I stayed at home. I was having problems of my own, and simply didn't feel like running around. I was happy to see her there and we lay about sunbathing she in her couture, Issy looked very skinny, but her radiant smile was worth hanging about for. In the middle of the week end she came to me and said it wouldn't last, Matthew had told her it wouldn't. She was quite calm, I remember saying to her gently go back to Detmar.
Detmar was flamboyant as well, he wore pink socks, a tailored suit with a chinese collar and pink lining. He was debonaire and soulful. In his past he was a barrister or a solicitor. He worked when young for the famous divorce lawyer Raymond Tooth. He loves quiet intellectual pursuits. He is also funny, but next to Isabelle a bit in her shadow. I had a good lunch with him once, but I was talking about something sad that had happened, and he turned to me and said quietly "can we change the conversation" I felt he couldn't deal with anything too depressing, later I understood why he sometimes disappeared. He could so easily become affected. He is happy now and has a beautiful wife and baby and lives in Portugal while he writes about his life with Issy. Detmar is fragile too and appeared to safeguard himself by living on a different planet and at one stage drinking a lot. I loved him though equally and he must have gone through hell. At the funeral of Issy's he looked ashen, not surprisingly, and downcast. Half of his elegance was from his mother who was from Sri Lanka. He looked a handsome Indian in some ways, with the air of a country gentleman. They seemed to entertain a lot at Hills, his family home. There was lots of talk of suicide, I always got confused by how many people between his and her family had depression. Their families were joined in doom and gloom, the hysterical laughter cloaking the misery.
Issy was saved by Philip and Stephan, truly great friends to her. Then there was the artist Hanuk. She spent much time with Bryan Ferry, who I have since got to really like. She kept to the same people, her core friends. Then there are all the friends that she never mentioned, people she affected that aren't known. She had the habit of plonking herself down and telling her whole life story to anyone, evan those that didn't know her. Looking back I was her Summer friend. I had at the time a glamorous pad with Johan my ex, Maison du Cap, in Ramatuelle, San Tropez, where I had my dogs and birds. It was my retreat too, I had lots of friends to stay there. The house was built by the late Eddy Barclay, a record producer in the early 1960's. In its time it had nearly every famous singer staying from Frank Sinatra to Liza Minelli. I in turn had many people to stay from Bono to Tracey Emin, Cornelia Guest to Prince Andrew. I hated my husband's idea of buying it. Eddy had been married so many times, I knew that it had an essence that would reflect badly on our relationship, and it did. Sadly this magical house has tragedy attached to it, my cousin George committed suicide after visiting, and later Issy and Bob Carlos Clarke too. I remember Issy's ironic and cutting words on film "If I was married to Bob I wouldn't have depression"..
After she died that summer, my son Charles was deeply moved. He wanted to sing for her. He loved her. She had a way with him, he was entirely impressed. Of course she liked him, but his feelings for her were much greater. His voice was pure and young and echoed hauntingly around the Cathedral as he sung Gluck. Charles later sang at her memorial at Guard's Chapel, attended by the fashion crowd, who adored and supported her. Ana Wintour spoke, Geordie Greig too, so many loved her. At her funeral her reed basket coffin was covered with black velvet, and had been hand embroidered lovingly by Philip. One of his hats was put at an angle at the end, it looked like a ship in full sail. Four black horses waited outside, to take her to her place of rest. I had to leave early to take Charles back to school. Death leaves a gap so painful, all the things unsaid.

The reason for writing this was really the death of McQueen. A shock to all his friends family and fans. Another suicide in my life. There have now been four. What did they all have in common. They couldn't get old and they suffered from depression and some suffered from drug related problems, for example my cousin George. However Bob didn't, he soberly repeated that the best photographer and most valuable was a dead one, he wrote about it. McQueen can't be replaced but I hope they are able to keep on his good name, and create something he would approve of. One thing is for sure these people enriched and cooured my life and made it beautiful in all ways. They will all be missed.

Last night Naomi Campbell put on the most incredible show, opening with a salute to McQueen. She gracefully walked down the catwalk. Followed by Annabel Neilson and Kate Moss each wearing the beautiful last season of Mcqueen, the dress made for Kate raised a glorious 100,00 pounds as it should. It was beautiful. One persons pain is another persons gain, and so the world goes round, some lucky woman in Haiti might be saved and her child too. The white ribbon event was a huge success.

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