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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 17:54 GMT
Fashion icon with a passion for hats
Isabella Blow and Philip Treacy
Away from the cameras Isabella Blow battled with depression
With the suicide of self-confessed eccentric Isabella Blow, the world of fashion lost one its most idiosyncratic characters.

The 48-year-old, known for her designer hats and blood-red lipstick, had previously tried to kill herself three times, including jumping off a bridge and taking an overdose of pills.

She had been suffering from a depressive illness for about three of four years before taking her life, her inquest in Gloucester was told.

Mrs Blow, the fashion director of Tatler, is credited with launching the careers of Philip Treacy, designer Alexander McQueen and model Sophie Dahl.

She began her career in 1981 as assistant to Anna Wintour, now editor-in-chief of American Vogue.

She came back to the UK five years later and was employed by British Vogue, The Sunday Times Style magazine and as Tatler's fashion director.

In 1998 she embarked on a whirlwind romance becoming engaged just 16 days after meeting Detmar Blow at a wedding in Salisbury.

'Waning celebrity'

They married the following year in Gloucester Cathedral.

Although her life in public was colourful, in private she battled depression and had been released after a period of psychiatric treatment, just days before her death.

Dr Ian Pennel, her psychiatrist, said that there were several episodes in her background which lay behind her depression.

"There was the perception of her waning celebrity, her paternal grandfather killing himself after being acquitted on a charge of murder, the death of her younger brother in a drowning incident and the difficult early relationship with her parents," he said.

Recording a suicide verdict the Gloucestershire Coroner Alan Crickmore said there was clear evidence of Mrs Blow's intention to take her life.

Isabella Blow had occupied a unique position in fashion working as an editor, a style icon and a patron to up-and-coming designers.

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