In London, the Somerset House pays tribute to the late Isabella Blow (19 November 1958 – 7 May 2007). The exhibition “Fashion Galore” remembers the ever fabulous and fashionable magazine editor, stylist and muse of many talents (such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy). A woman who succeeded in establishing herself in the international fashion and art world.
The Somerset House lets you take a look into Blow’s private collection of dresses, hats and accessories. The exhibition also features personal belongings and footage and fragments of her work. Like entering a walk-in closet that tells a story.
The duo (red. Curators Alistair O’Neill and Shonagh Marshall) also approached Blow’s husband, Detmar Blow, to obtain more personal items for the show. Her Rolodex with entries written in pink ink using her Waterman pen, stubs of her signature Chanel Rouge Coromandel lipstick, old business cards, self portraits drawn on napkins, and her false lashes are displayed, giving insight into her idiosyncrasies.” – Samantha Tse, Blouinartinfo.com
The exhibition showcases over a hundred pieces from her collection, which is thought to be “one of the most important private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design”. A value that is based on and fueled by the many designer talents she discovered and launched, such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald. For example, one of the more illustrious pieces in the collection is the 1992 graduate collection from Central Saint Martins, which she bought in its entirety for £5,ooo, paying it off in £100 installments each week.
The curators really tried their best to make the exhibition display a lived life. Isabella’s clothes were not restored to appear as new. They want to show every tear, every missing bead, even lipstick stains, so as to preserve their stories.
We wanted to be able to say this is an amazing beaded McQueen jacket, yet it’s got rips and tears where she got it caught in car doors or when people treaded on it. It’s all a part of the story and I think that we need to be able to think about surviving the dress in this way now because those traces are actually quite important.” – Alistair O’Neill, Blouinartinfo.com
“Fashion Galore” promises to be a true an detailed reflexion of a controversial woman with a defiant and unapologetic artistic vision. A woman that let herself be intrigued by unconventional beauty and experimental artforms, combined with a gift for recognizing talent, which makes her a major influencer and icon of fashion history and fashion today.
“Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore”, 20 November 2013 – 2 March 2014, @ Somerset House, London