Isabella Blow @ Somerset House


The Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House has everybody talking. The show which chronicles the life of Blow who died in 2007 is embellished with fashion, film and mis-matched shoes!

Somerset House introduces us to Blow with a newspaper announcement of the very first day of her life. She was born into the aristocracy, a distant world away from the flamboyant hats of Philip Treacy and the cleaning jobs she took before working for Tatler, Sunday Times Style and Vogue.

The mega-stylist is credited for discovering, Alexander Mcqueen, Hussein Chalayn, Julien Macdonald and Philip Treacy, whose designs are on display in the form of over 100 pieces from her own wardrobe, which is evident from the tiny size of the clothes. It is also clear to see that Ms Blow had a penchant for Manolo shoes. These outfits were bought as a collection by Daphne Guinness at auction to ensure they did not vanish into private collections.

Not only did the fashionista find some of our favourite designers of the moment but she also spotted and helped launch the careers of several british models including Bella Freud, Honor Fraser, Plum Sykes and Stella Tennant, who are pictured in an editorial by Steven Meisel.

Also on show are letters between Blow and various designers and editors, alongside her own personal notes, all scribbled in dazzling pink ink. Of Blow’s life after the runway show, we are told very little, only that she suffered from devastating depression and attempted suicide many times before killing herself.

The show finale is a screening of a collaboration between Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy of La Dame Bleuse, a dedication to the life of Blow after her death in the designs which probably could not have been possible without her.

Blow exuded talent, could look good in anything and knew a thing or two about wearing hats!

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore is on display at Somerset House until March 2

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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