Fashion

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore Exhibition at Somerset House

“Isabella “Issy” Blow[1][2] (19 November 1958 – 7 May 2007)[3][4] was an English magazine editor. The muse of hat designer Philip Treacy, she is credited with discovering the models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl as well as the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.”  Wikipedia


Somerset House plays home to London Fashion Week and some of the most tremendous exhibitions, but when attending the Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore exhibition last week I must say I think its one of the most captivating by far.  This major fashion exhibition is a partnership between the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, capturing the flamboyant and creative life, wardrobe and work of the late British patron of fashion and art. A terribly sad ending to such unique talent, the exhibition documents her life in all its ups and downs. Her close friend Daphne Guinness now owns the spectacular collection of over a hundred pieces all found within the journey you experience within this symbolic style icons story while at Somerset House.
An eccentric and fascinating character Isabella’s thirty year career in fashion began early in the 80’s working at US Vogue as the renowned Anna Wintour’s assistant. Born into British aristocracy and with a flare for historical influences in her later years of art direction she really was a force to be reckoned with. “Blow moved to New York City in 1979 to study Ancient Chinese Art at Columbia University and shared a flat with the actress Catherine Oxenberg. A year later, she left the Art History programme at Columbia, moved to Texas, and worked for Guy Laroche.” Wikipedia
Returning to London in the mid 80’s she went on to work at Tatler and then British Vogue. By 1997 she had established herself as Fashion Director of the Sunday Times Style and then later in her career returned to Tatler as Fashion Director. Maybe her fairly easy progression in such a tough business was attributed to her eagerness to push boundaries and create artistic yet provocative fashion spreads.
Throughout the exhibition her key fashion relationships and musings were apparent, a lover of exquisite textiles, unique forms and outlandish designs she discovered and launched many key designs of the time. Her loyalty and embodiment to nurture British born talent such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald amongst many others, proved why she would be a perfect muse for such talent. 

Isabella also played a key role in nurturing and discovering key faces of the time, like Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl.
She became a legendary figure within the international fashion and contemporary art worlds due to her creative talent, unique eye and flamboyant fashion musings. The list of her design and modelling discoveries and collaborations is endless, working alongside photographic legends such as David LaChapelle, Sean Ellis and Steven Meisel.


“Curated by Alistair O’Neill with Shonagh Marshall and designed by award-winning architectural firm Carmody Groarke, with installations by celebrated set designer Shona Heath, the exhibition displays thematically the breadth of Isabella’s collection, a life lived through clothes. ” Somerset House
Such talent is rare and to then end in such a tragic way is maybe also her way of making her place in fashion history, to be remembered for her great talent, creativity and support of the British Fashion industry rather than her greatest fear of fading into the sidelines and being ignored or forgotten. Catwalk trends are always that and rarely donned even by the most affluent of fashionistas yet Isabella was unique with her no holds barred approach to style and if it were not for talent like hers catwalks styles may never evolve into the actual trends they become. A fearless Fashionista, Isabella you will be missed! 
Have you had a chance to attend this exhibition ? What did you think? Leave a comment below or let’s chat via my twitter @naomikisted
Written by  ‘The London Lifestylist’ Naomi Isted
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Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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