Somerset House, home to London Fashion Week, is the ideal venue to showcase the fashion icon, Isabella Blow, A must-see exhibition for anyone interested in fashion.
Born Isabella Delves Broughton, she was a member of Britain’s elite society. Brought up on the family estate Doddington Hall in Cheshire, her family’s circumstances meant that she was obliged to earn a living. She chose fashion as a career. Her gift, as described in the exhibition was ‘to take the ruins of her class, and the rubble of history to convey British fashion and style in the twentieth century’.
During her career, Blow worked as a fashion editor and stylist mainly for Tatler, The Sunday Times Style Magazine, and British Vogue. She attracted young creative people, became their patron, and wore the things they made.
Blow responded to clothes that were unconventional. She was instrumental in inspiring young, up and coming people. She is credited in assisting Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen to achieve international status. She commissioned Treacy, who is credited with reviving interest in hat design for contemporary fashion, to make a headdress for her wedding to Detmar Blow. When he was still at Central Saint Martins, she bought Alexander McQueen’s entire collection.
For the 1996 London Fashion Week, she had a hand in staging two of the key shows – for Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy.
The exhibition covers her beginnings through to the people she influenced, the clothes she wore, and includes dresses and hats by McQueen and Treacy. It finishes with a film of the catwalk show made in October 2007 as a tribute to her untimely death.
Somerset House, Strand. Daily 10 – 6pm Thurs. to 9pm
Finishes March 2, 2014
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