Isabella Blow captured by Donald McPherson in the Kuwaiti desert, December 2006
Back in 2001, Isabella Blow found herself collaborating with a young American photographer named Donald McPherson. “She was very good at making you feel important,” recalled McPherson in “Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion,” by Lauren Goldstein Crowe. The two first began working on shoots for V magazine, and went on to collaborate on various creative projects in Paris.
When Isabella was hired by Condé Nast as Tatler’s new fashion director in the fall of 2002, she brought McPherson along with her. Their first elaborate shoot together at Tatler, was a homage to Blow’s friend Manolo Blahnik.
In December of 2006, Blow, Donald McPherson and her friend Daphne Guinness went to Kuwait to photograph members of the royal family for a fashion story on designer caftans. “It was the first time the royal family had let a photographer into their homes and shoot them in their own jewels,” recalled McPherson.
Not known for traveling light, Blow often brought along numerous pieces of luggage, including a number of hatboxes. “We were in Terminal 4 at Heathrow. I’m not someone who fades into the background, either, but Izzy looked like a highwayman, in a cape and tricorn,” recalled Daphne Guinness of the trip they made together to Kuwait.
The idea for the photo shoot was born after Isabella had met Majed Al-Sabah backstage at a Valentino show. At the time Al-Sabah had just opened the first Villa Moda store on the outskirts of Kuwait City, and the two became fast friends. Blow made Al-Sabah a contributing editor at Tatler, and when she heard that he had commissioned Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Pucci to create a line of caftans for Villa Moda, she decided to shoot the collection in Kuwait for the magazine. The result was a series of stunning images that captured a moment in time.