Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore

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Isabella Blow, 1997 © Mario Testino

The latest exhibition to hit Somerset House this winter is a huge celebration of an iconic patron of British fashion, the late Isabella Blow.

Famed for discovering and launching British fashion talents, most notably Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Julian Macdonald, the aristocracy born Isabella began her career in the 1980s and rose to the heights of Fashion Director for Tatler. During her illustrious career, Isabella was at the forefront of British fashion for thirty years and amassed an impressive and unique wardrobe of couture. Now owned by Daphne Guiness, Isabella’s wardrobe has become one of the most important fashion collections in existence and is showcased in this exhibition.

Final Touches Made To Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, A New Somerset House Exhibition

Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House

The items that we wear and how we choose to wear them, is an extension of our personality and reflects the character of the wearer. The embodiment of ‘Cool Brittania’ Isabella’s extensive assortment of fashion couture on display reflects her unique and quirky nature and, most evidently, her enthusiasm and passion for creativity. From her eccentric Philip Treacy hats down to her wearing mismatched shoes, each piece is a unique work of art and craftsmanship with meticulous attention to detail. Nowhere is this plainer to see than in the exhibition highlights; a range of mannequins adorned with outfits worn by Isabella and extraordinary Philip Treacy hats, in particular one in the shape of a ship and made entirely out of black feathers and another in the form of a castle.

Final Touches Made To Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, A New Somerset House Exhibition

Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House

The lavish detail, flamboyance and eccentricity of her wardrobe shows that Isabella consistently pushed conventional boundaries. Her unique eye for creativity spotted now well-known British designers and brought them to our attention. The exhibition takes you on a journey through the different stages of her life, from her background when she was born Isabella Delves Broughton in 1958, through to

Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House

Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House

pieces from McQueen and Treacy’s MA graduate collections when they were discovered by Isabella and pieces from her own style and outfits.

The grand finale, pieces from the Spring/Summer 2008 La Dame Bleue demonstrates the importance of Isabella Blow in the fashion world. The collection, a collaboration by McQueen and Treacy, was

Isabella Blow and Philip Treacy, 2003 for Vanity Fair © 5 Donald McPherson

Isabella Blow and Philip Treacy, 2003
for Vanity Fair © 5 Donald McPherson

inspired by Isabella and dedicated to her in the event of her death. Pieces on show from this collection include a full length McQueen dress with a sculpted neckline and shoulders made entirely from feathers; and a unique Philip Treacy hat which features a multitude of red butterflies set out like an explosion of colour.

Isabella Blow’s love for fashion and her legacy lives on through the marvels and wonderment of her unique and inspiring collection.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore is on at Somerset House

20 November 2013 – 02 March 2014

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