Andrea Riseborough To Star In Isabella Blow Biopic ‘The Queen Of Fashion’ From Writer-Director Alex Marx, With Emilia Clarke, Hayley Atwell, Richard E. Grant & Fionn O’Shea

EXCLUSIVE: British writer, director, and producer Alex Marx will make his feature debut with The Queen of Fashion, a long-gestating biopic of fashion editor, stylist, and iconoclast Isabella Blow, with Academy Award nominee Andrea Riseborough set to produce and play the lead role.

The Queen of Fashion details the ups and downs of Blow’s life championing unknown and marginalized fashion figures like Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, and Sophie Dahl, whom she catapulted to success while struggling with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. The project will be sold in Cannes by Rocket Science for international, with CAA Media Finance arranging financing for the film and handling domestic rights.

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Riseborough will star as Blow alongside a robust supporting cast featuring Emilia Clarke as Daphne Guinness, Richard E. Grant as Blow’s father Evelyn Delves Broughton, Fionn O’Shea as Philip Treacy, and Hayley Atwell as Alexandra Schulman. Verity Naughton CDG continues casting key roles, including those of Isabella’s husband Detmar Blow, her mother Helen Delves Broughton, fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and journalist Michael Roberts.

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Emilia Clarke, Richard E. Grant, Fionn O'Shea, Hayley Atwell
Clockwise from top left: Emilia Clarke, Richard E. Grant, Hayley Atwell, Fionn O’Shea

Blow began her career in fashion at Guy Laroche in Texas before she was hired by Vogue as an assistant to Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley. In New York, her circle included Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. She returned to London in 1986 where she worked for Roberts, then the fashion director of Tatler and The Sunday Times Style magazine.

Treacy designed the hat Isabella wore to her wedding to Detmar in 1989; the start of a long association with the milliner. She discovered McQueen and purchased his entire graduate collection for £5,000, paid off in weekly £100 installments. Blow would go on to become the fashion director for Tatler magazine.

Blow’s mental health suffered towards the end of her life, and she was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder—for which she received electroshock therapy—and ovarian cancer. In the last years of her life, she attempted suicide many times, eventually dying by suicide in 2007.

“I’ve admired Andrea’s work since first witnessing her extraordinary talent over 20 years ago in the National Youth Theatre,” says Marx. “There are few actors who can match her courage, her virtuosity, and her sheer open-heartedness. I’m blessed to be working with her and cannot wait to see her bring Issie to life.”

Alex Marx
Writer/Director Alex Marx

Alex Marx has worked as an actor and acting coach, notably collaborating with Emily Beecham, who won the Best Actress prize in Cannes in 2019 for Little Joe. He made his directorial debut with the short Happy Accident, and his other shorts include Syncronicity, Fingers, and OK, Mum, all of which he wrote. He appeared alongside Riseborough in Daisy Lewis’s short Actress in 2020. He has developed The Queen of Fashion over eight years.

Riseborough was Oscar-nominated for her performance in To Leslie in 2023. She stars in HBO’s limited series The Regime, alongside Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Matthias Schoenarts and Martha Plimpton, as well as Alice and Jack opposite Domnhnall Gleeson. She is repped by CAA, Independent Talent Group, and Untitled Entertainment

The Queen of Fashion is produced by Matthew Rhodes for The Hideaway Entertainment; alongside Elise Freeman for Mystic Dawn Media; Andrea Riseborough for Mother Sucker; Robert Ogden Barnum; and Catrin Lewis Defis. Executive producers include Alison Owen; Jonathan Gray and Ryan Cassells for The Hideaway Entertainment; Thorsten Schumacher and Claire Taylor for Rocket Science; and Jason Tan. The film will be shot by veteran cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt (The Help, Closer) with British musician Laura Mvula on board to compose music.

“Alex’s impressive vision as a filmmaker along with Andrea’s commitment to complex and emotional performances make this an exciting project to be a part of,” says Rhodes.

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