Last week I treated myself to a trip to Somerset House, to visit “Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!” exhibition in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins. It is a major fashion exhibition celebrating the out of the ordinary life and fashion wardrobe of Isabella Blow.
The exhibition was stunning, showcasing over a hundred pieces of Blow’s fashion and accessories. You truly peek at a life lived through clothes, as you are acquainted with Blow’s eccentric personality and love of fashion in all forms. The collection that is now owned by Daphne Guiness, is one of the most private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design. Several garments from well known designers who Blow helped to be discovered/promoted are featured, such as Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald. Notable accessories are also featured from fabulous hat designer Philip Treacy, whom she was believed to be his muse.
Born Isabella Delves Broughton, she was part of the rarefied world of British aristocracy. Her family roots can be traced back to the thirteenth century. Although Blow came from a privileged background, she was encouraged to develop a career after her grandfather squandered away the the family fortunes during the interwar years and brought disrepute for his involvement in the White Mischief Scandal of 1941. Isabella chose a career in in fashion, working for magazines as a stylist and editor. Her first job was assisting Michael Roberts at Taylor, where she developed a skill described as “truffling for talent.”
Blow paid particular attention to fashion that was unconventional in construction crafted from unlikely fabrics, but that also showed excellent craftsmanship and conceptual qualities. This combination truly spoke to Isabella, as she believed this personified the new British order in fashion. During her career, Blow assisted US Vogue’s Anna Wintour, worked at Tatler (in which later became Fashion Director) and British Vogue. In 1997, she also became Fashion Director of the Sunday Times Style . She was truly driven by passion and creativity, something that I believe is reflected in the showcased collection at Somerset House.
Another focus on the exhibition was Isabella’s talent for discovering models. A room is dedicated to models who Blow worked with, which is beautifully set out in a black and white colour combination, featuring large prints of well known fashion models such Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant. She had several collaborations with major photographers such as Steven Meisel, David LaChapelle and Sean Ellis, which pushed the boundaries of convention in her increasingly provocative fashion spreads and establishing herself as a legendary figure within the international fashion and contemporary art worlds.
I say that this is must see exhibition for all fashion lovers!
Please visit the below link to discover more:
(all images courtesy of http://www.somersethouse.org.uk)