Fashion Galore! Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House

Happy New Year to you all!

During Christmas and New Year I headed into London; I did have a mooch around Covent Garden for a little shopping, and because I picked a day, a few days after Boxing day, it was lovely and quiet, I felt like I had London to myself!

My trip was all centred around going to Somerset House, what a beautiful building, to go see the clothes and the artefacts at an exhibition for Isabella Blow.

Taken on iPhone

I became fascinated by Isabella after reading her husband’s book, Blow by Blow, by Detmar Blow. Her aristocracy ancestry was as typically eccentric as her manner of dress.  Her passion for fashion, plus no doubt her family contacts enabled her to worked for Vogue, Tatler and the Sunday Times  Style magazine.

She discovered the likes of Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl, and renowned for wearing Philip Treacy hats daily!  She had vision and creativity that set her apart from her colleagues, she was full of character and she never let a simple thing like a “lack of budget” stop her from achieving what she wanted to visually.

She had one if the best jobs in the world, well for us fashionistas it would seem, but sadly Isabella lead a life filled with depression and was persistent in trying to kill herself. 

She was Born Isabella Delves Broughton in 1958, she married Detmar who she met at a wedding in September 1988, engaged only sixteen weeks later.  They had no children.  In 2007 at the age of 49, after attempting suicide numerous times, she died in hospital on May 7th 2007 after drinking the weed killer Paraquat.  

Daphne Guinness had the foresight, and now privately owns over 100 pieces of Isabella’s possessions which feature in this exhibition.  These include garments from the many designer talents she discovered and launched, in her world this was known as “Truffling for Talent”.

It was great to see the silhouette display by Tim Noble and Sue Webster again, I’ve seen this previously a few years ago at the National Portrait Gallery, where I took a sneaky pic!  It’s made from lots of dead birds and feathers etc, which is all a little grim, but makes this fascinating profile of Isabella.

Taken on iPhone

There was lots to see many centred around Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, including the collection she bought from Alexander, Dantes Collection 1996:

Taken on iPhone

My favourite artefacts were the every day things; her business cards, her rolodex, her white phone which apparently she spent most of the day on!  They showcased are Waterman fountain pen, and displayed notebooks etc of her handwriting in pink ink, her chosen colour.  It’s these sorts of things that I love to see, because they are so personal I think it gives you a real insight into the person.

The exhibition finishes with two films, the first is the Spring/Summer 2008 Catwalk Show, which was held in Paris on 6th October 2007 by Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy called La Dame Blue, in honour of Isabella.

And the second film, are models wearing Isabella’s clothes around places that I like to thinks that Isabella would have chosen to do her fashion shoots, there was no detail given.

I thought it was all very simple but very well done!  I couldn’t resist treating myself to a notebook, a mirror and a postcard of my favourite dress in the exhib from the gift shop.

Taken on iPhone

Isabella Blow:  Fashion Galore! is on at Somerset House until 2nd March 2014

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