In partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Somerset House is to set Isabella Blow’s eclectic wardrobe on display.
Text: Christina Zikou
London-born patron of fashion and art, Isabella Blow, began her journey in the early 80s as Anna Wintour’s assistant at US Vogue, before working for British Vogue and becoming fashion director at the Sunday Times Style and Tatler. Credited for discovering Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, she is known for her epic collection of shoes and hats and her love of the British countryside. Her daring path was sadly interrupted by her suicide in 2007, at age 48, after years of battling depression.
“The exhibition is, to me, a bittersweet event”, said Daphne Guinness, who purchased Blow’s entire wardrobe in 2010 and is the founder of the Isabella Blow Foundation, set up in her memory in order to support aspiring art and fashion students and to facilitate further research in the fields of depression and mental health.
“Isabella Blow made our world more vivid, trailing color with every pace she took. It is a sorrier place for her absence. When I visited her beloved clothes in a storage room in South Kensington, it seemed quite clear the collection would be of immense value to a great many people”, Guinness said. “I do believe that in choosing to exhibit them we’ve done the right thing — and that it is what she would have wanted. I am doing this in memory of a dear friend, in the hope that her legacy may continue to aid and inspire generations of designers to come”.
Among the labels featured in the exhibit, in addition to McQueen and Treacy, are Hussein Chalayan, Jeremy Scott, Julien Macdonald, Viktor & Rolf, Fendi, Escada, Prada, and Marni. Bespoke Isabella Blow mannequins wearing full outfits worn by her will serve to demonstrate her inimitable style.
* Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, curated by Alistair O’Neil with Shonagh Marshall and designed by architectural firm Carmody Groarke, with installations by Shona Heath, runs from November 20th 2013 to March 2nd 2014 at Somerset House.
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