An Ode to Isabella


Happy Friday! I’m Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns and I’m guest posting for Jen today. This post was inspired by the Wardrobe Architect series I’m writing for my blog, all about defining personal style and buying (or making) clothing with more intention. Read more about the series here and you can also check out my Core Style pinboard.

I fell in love with Isabella Rossellini when I was 15.

I don’t know what it is that makes teen girls sometimes latch on to beautiful famous women, but I suspect we see a reflection of both who we want to be, and who we already are.


I don’t have the sort of face that gets a lot of comparisons to famous people, perhaps because most celebrity women tend to look alike. But there was something about Isabella’s dark eyes, angular features, and full lips that I could identify with, an idealized and more beautiful version of my own stormy Italian-Jewish features.


But it was something Isabella conveyed more than what she looked like. She has a grace and elegance that combines with something dark and intense. In many of her roles as an actress, particularly in David Lynch films, she is a little unhinged, a little weird. At the same time, she manages to convey strength and self-possession.


This is probably what appealed to me most of all as a young girl. The idea that one could be beautiful and just a little off, a little strange; and that, in fact, it is this unusual quality that makes her all the more compelling. You can’t take your eyes from a woman like that.


PHOTO CREDITS: 1. Photographed at the Cannes film festival in 1990 by Jean-Christian Bourcart 2. Photographed by Steven Meisel for Dolce & Gabbana, 1989 3. Photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe 4. Photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993 5. Photographed by Herb Ritts.

6 Responses to “An Ode to Isabella”
  1. allison b-t says:

    i too have always loved isabella, having devoured her films and autobiography while i was in high school. her beauty is to me, both perfect and unusual at the same time and you can just tell she is an immensely intelligent, creative and positive individual.

  2. Kailey says:

    Isabella is one of my very favorite actresses! She is such a strong and underrated person and it’s so refreshing to see this post celebrating her <3

  3. Leanne says:

    Absolutley yes!! I have loved Isabella, too, since I was very young. Even though I look nothing like her, it’s her style I love. You hit it exactly when you talked about beauty that is a little bit “off”. I think that kind of beauty is more interesting and even intelligent.

  4. She’s one of the most beautiful women ever! I loved her in Lynch movies.
    She doesn’t look like a little Barbie doll (unlike most famous actresses nowadays) and she seems to be very clever, with a strong personality.

  5. Jane W says:

    I’ve loved Isabella since the 80s. I felt so validated by her appearance, coming of age in the media onslaught of Christie Brinkley and Kim Alexis.

  6. Honora says:

    I’ve been worshiping Isabella since my teens as well. One year, I made a Christmas card entirely of her! She is of such a beauty that is relatable to young woman. She does resemble those of us whom don’t meet society’s ideal. Her strength and beauty gave me hope.