Made By Mrs M

Isabella Blow


A few weeks ago I visited the Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House in London. 

They were rather strict about photography, so I didn't manage to get any pictures (but as I said when I visited the Paul Smith exhibition last month, I'm not sure it's such a great idea to photograph everything anyway). 

The exhibition had a wonderful atmosphere, and once again I was transported back to my days at college. It contained a fantastic array of Isabella's clothes (and of course her Philip Treacy hats), interesting artefacts, videos and a certain amount of her story (but not lingering on her untimely death). 

What I really loved was the fact that all of the clothes had been worn, and most of them had been worn without any real concern for their wellbeing. Red wine stains, cigarette burns and lace which was fraying around the edges, all added to the personal nature of the exhibition (there were even some broken shoes on display). Isabella clearly loved the feeling of theatre she created with her wonderful outfits, but wasn't particularly bothered about preserving any of them. 

I think I'd always imagined her clothes as being pretty unwearable but most of them were just beautiful, and I could see myself in them (if they weren't so small - she was tiny). Most of the drama was created with the hats - I have now decided to take a look back at the early work of Alexander McQueen though - not sure I'd ever seen any of his pieces at such close quarters before (and they really were beautiful).

Now, the hats. I'm reminiscing about another Design Museum exhibition, this time a few years after we moved to London, back in 2002 - When Philip met Isabella.  As the title may suggest, this just included the hats and was rather wonderful. I bought the book which accompanied the exhibition (this is available to purchase at Somerset House - I'd forgotten all about it until I saw it in the exhibition shop). The images shown here are from that book.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore is at Somerset House until 2 March 2014. 

A new edition of When Philip met Isabella is also now available, and is published by Assouline. 

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