The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, May 26, 2018

Style queen: Fashion editor Isabella Blow's wardrobe on show in London at Somerset House
A circular hat with slit detail by British designer Philip Treacy during a press preview for the "Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!" exhibition at Somerset House in central London. A new exhibition in London takes a look at Blow's life and wardrobe, including some spectacular early pieces by designer Alexander McQueen and milliner Philip Treacy who she helped nurture from students to global stars. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT.

By: Alice Ritchie

LONDON (AFP).- Stylist, muse, mentor or simply an eccentric aristocrat with a penchant for wearing lobsters -- late British fashion editor Isabella Blow was hard to pin down, but most agree she was extraordinary.

A new exhibition in London takes a look at Blow's life and wardrobe, including some spectacular early pieces by designer Alexander McQueen and milliner Philip Treacy who she helped nurture from students to global stars.

Long before Lady Gaga, Blow was a fashion icon renowned for her irreverent sense of style.

She also worked with some of the world's best photographers and discovered top models such as Stella Tennant.

"She had a talent for spotting talent," said Shonagh Marshall, co-curator of "Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!", which opened at Somerset House on Wednesday.

"It was all about the relationships she had with people. She brought everyone together."

Despite her exuberant style, Blow suffered from acute depression and in 2007, at the age of 48, she killed herself by drinking weedkiller. It was her seventh suicide attempt in 14 months.

She left behind her beloved collection of clothes which was bought by her close friend, heiress Daphne Guinness.

Guinness is now putting them on public display for the first time, in what she said was "a bittersweet event".

"Isabella Blow made our world more vivid, trailing colour with every pace she took. It is a sorrier place for her absence," she said.

'Clothes build you up'

Born into an aristocratic English family which had long squandered its wealth, Blow began her fashion career as Anna Wintour's assistant at US Vogue in the early 1980s.

She was an eccentric even then, washing her desk with Perrier water and fast becoming known for her unconventional outfits, which only grew more outlandish when she returned to London to work for Tatler, Vogue and the Sunday Times Style magazine.

Blow was a famously early supporter of McQueen, attending his graduate fashion school show in 1992. She was so excited that she tracked down his mother and bombarded her with phone calls until McQueen got in touch.

Blow bought the entire collection on installment, paying £100 (now $160, 120 euros) a week and receiving one garment a month delivered in a rubbish bag, according to Marshall.

Some of those early designs are on display at Somerset House, including a pink silk frock coat with a black hawthorn print and a black gossamer knit top with glitter detailing.

They stand alongside items from McQueen's seminal autumn/winter 1996 collection, such as a beautiful lilac silk corset with appliqued lace and jet embroidery.

The 'Dante' show was dedicated to Blow and catapulted McQueen into the big league. A few months later, McQueen was named head designer at Givenchy. Like Blow, he took his own life in 2010.

Blow also spotted hat designer Treacy at art school and the pair became close friends.

She styled the milliner's 1996 collection to huge acclaim, and the exhibition includes a striking silver half-cloche hat with a Rolls Royce figurine on top which featured in the show.

Blow wore many of her proteges' creations, including a legendary Treacy hat featuring a lobster with its legs clinging to her face.

She became as well-known for her outlandish outfits as her job, turning up at one fashion shoot in a hot-pink burkha.

She had a passion for creativity and craftsmanship, but the fragile Blow also saw her clothes as a kind of armour shielding her from the outside world.

"If you're beautiful you don't need clothes. If you're ugly like me, you're like a house with no foundations; you need something to build you up," she once said.

Although she often struggled to pay for the outfits, Blow was not precious about them -- she wore one early John Galliano dress while she did the washing-up.

"They were made to be worn, that was the fun of them," Marshall said, adding that Blow's style was "like no-one else's".

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

November 25, 2013

National Maritime Museum examines J.M.W Turner’s lifelong fascination with the sea

French World War II veteran sells photo albums from Hitler manse for $13,700

(RED) Auction: $26.2 million raised at Sotheby's to fight against AIDS in Africa

Granddaughter of German painter Otto Dix slams 'scandalous' handling of Nazi art trove

British artist Jason Martin presents a new series of cast copper and nickel works at Lisson Gallery Milan

MoMA presents Isaac Julien's acclaimed film installation Ten Thousand Waves

Sotheby's to hold the first-ever Auction of Contemporary Art from Russia and Eastern Europe

Style queen: Fashion editor Isabella Blow's wardrobe on show in London at Somerset House

OHWOW gallery in Los Angeles now representing The Robert Mapplethorpe Estate

Matt Johnson’s second solo show at Alison Jacques Gallery opens in London

METRO Show dealers entice fair-goers with a spectrum of diverse curated exhibits

Exhibition of new works by Jan De Vliegher opens at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York

World record at Bonhams Hong Kong for Yixing masterpieces collection at HK$52M (4.1M GBP)

Michael Shumacher's Benetton-Cosworth Ford B194 to go under the hammer at Bonhams

Bonhams sells furniture of war hero who masterminded Operation 'Overlord'

Exhibition of recent paintings by the Ghanaian-born artist George Afedzi Hughes opens at Skoto Gallery

Part II of The Sam Snead Collection headlines Significant Golf Collectibles Event at Heritage Auctions

"theory of everything" by Jamey Morrill opens at Yellow Peril Gallery

In his fourth solo show, Klemens Gasser "feathers" the subjects of sex, life and death

Simon Dybbroe Møller's second exhibition at Laura Bartlett Gallery opens in London

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful