Isabella Blow – Fashion Galore!
The 20th November – 2nd March saw the annual Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House, in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation.
After Isabella’s death in 2007; tributes have been made worldwide to her and her contribution to fashion, design and art. Isabella was very artistic and passionate; each of her designs telling a story, embracing her love of natural history and generally the elements around her.
The influential fashion editor of Tatler Magazine was not only a style guru but has also been credited for beginning the careers of milliner Philip Treacy, designer Alexander McQueen and model Sophie Dahl.
Renowned for her creative flair in fashion and her passion for hats, most of which she modelled for her close friend Philip Treacy, she remained an icon of her time and beyond.
“Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me. They say, ‘Oh, can I kiss you?’ I say, ‘No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye.’ I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.” (Isabella Blow)
This major exhibition was created in celebration of Isabella’s amazing character and life-long contribution to fashion. There are over 100 pieces on display; all of which have been kept exactly as they were left, in order to show their authenticity and ingenuity.
Curator, Shonagh Marshall worked alongside the creators in order to uncover the items, piece by piece and displayed them in a detailed way so as not to damage them any further.
The items have slight tarnishes and wears and tears and this helps to tell the story behind every piece. Every dress, skirt, top, shirt and hat has been worn to an occasion that was significant to Isabella; ergo playing a part in her creative life.
One of Isabella’s favourite themes for clothing was armoury; she believed it served as a protective barrier; able to keep people at a distance to which she felt comfortable. This replicates her thoughts and feelings on wearing hats.
World famous designer, Alexander McQueen; whom Isabella discovered made most of the items on display. Her passion for beautiful clothes and her nurturing personality meant that she consistently sought to develop McQueen’s potential further, calling him repeatedly and buying out his first line in £100 weekly instalments.
Similarly, Isabella bombarded another of her protégés, Phillip Treacy, a student at the Royal College of Art, whom she discovered at an art show, with phone calls and asked him to make her a ship hat.
Isabella was fascinated by 18th Century art history, particularly that of women who used to wear ship sculptures in their hair in order to signify support and victory in sea battles. However, despite saying how busy he was at the time, he gave in to her, thus creating one of the most memorable pieces of headwear in her collection.
Every single item in this collection will have you in awe. No boundaries are left un-turned, neither theme nor trend let alone.
Indulge yourself and your imagination in the richness and luxuriousness of the clothing.
Although Isabella was a particularly secretive person and saw clothing as a protective barrier from the outside world; this exhibition embraces her passion and personality; derived from the work of collectors and curators; who have put together her deepest secrets and displayed it with love for your enjoyment.
Here is to the years to come, in celebration of her life; Isabella Blow – Fashion Galore!