“Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me,” the late British fashion editor Isabella Blow said. “They say, ‘Oh, can I kiss you?’ I say, ‘No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye.’ I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.”
Somerset House, in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, is proud to present Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, a major fashion exhibition celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of the late British patron of fashion and art.
The exhibition showcases over a hundred pieces from her incredibly rich collection, one of the most important private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design, now owned by Daphne Guinness. This includes garments from the many designer talents she discovered and launched, such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald amongst others.
The exhibition pays tribute to idiosyncrasies, humour, and her love of beauty, but also her legacy. Cocurator Daphne Guinness said: “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”.
The Burka designed by Jun Takahashi that Blow wore to a Dior Couture show in 2003 (it was also worn by Lady Gaga at Philip Treacy’s catwalk show last year) and a lace creation from McQueen’s 1996 Dante collection. Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House.
Milliner Philip Treacy poses with Blow, his muse, for Vanity Fair in 2003.
A portrait of Isabella Blow by David Downton.
See who celebrated the launch of Somerset House’s Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!
Shonagh Marshall in a dress by Christopher Kane.