The Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street—always a contemporary treat when I visit London, most certainly satiated my artistic requisite last month in more ways than one. The first: an impactful reminder about the upcoming exhibition in London for the indomitable fashion muse and Patron of British fashion and art: Isabella Blow.
On exhibition, amidst other artists, were a series of works by extrovert photographer David LaChapelle, but most specifically, the striking yet tragic iconic image of Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow. Who knew back in 1996, when LaChapelle shot this image that this fashion designer and his muse would be immortalized in death, both suicide, three years apart: Blow died in 2007, and McQueen in 2010.
With the Met exhibition Savage Beauty in honor of McQueen in 2011, firmly imbued in the mind of every style-worshipping fashionista; now is the time to reflect on his muse. On November 20, 2013 through March 2, 2014, Somerset House in London will present the exhibition Fashion Galore! in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central St. Martins.
As a former assistant to Anna Wintour at U.S. Vogue in the early 80s, Blow moved back to London as fashion director at Tatler—Britain’s top-notch society magazine, followed by tenures at British Vogue, and the Sunday Times Style. Hailed for discovering Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, and models Sophie Dahl, and Stella Tennant this muse of eccentric style with an aristocratic background was certainly no stranger to the prerequisite standards bequeathed upon a muse. Admired and adored within fashion circles both sides of the Atlantic pond, Blow inspired many with her overt zeal for fashion and love of fascinators.
Three years after her death, in 2010, Christies cancelled an auction that was scheduled to sell the personal wardrobe of the late Blow, when long-time friend, Daphne Guinness purchased the entire collection, just day’s prior. As the founder of the Isabella Blow Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting fashion and emerging talent with funds benefiting non-profits that support mental health, Ms. Guinness quoted at the time, “It’s Issy – it’s her D.N.A, it should not be scattered to the four winds.”
The exhibition—no doubt, a time capsule of recent fashion history, will showcase over 50 Philip Treacy hats and 90-curated outfits from her wardrobe. Organized by theme the collection includes designers such as Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Giles Deacon, Philip Treacy, Julien Macdonald, Viktor & Rolf, Marni, and Jeremy Scott. The exhibition will also include the entire Alexander McQueen spring/summer 2008 collection, titled: La Dame Bleue that was dedicated to Blow, and included the infamous Philip Treacy hats. Portraits of Blow shot by photographers such as David LaChapelle, Mario Testino, Karl Lagerfeld and Steven Meisel will also be featured throughout the exhibition.
If you watched The September Issue back in 2010—a documentary and behind-the-scenes glimpse into U.S. Vogue magazine, you would remember that Anna Wintour attended a memorial service: she gave a eulogy to Isabella Blow.
Sadly, not sure that I will be back in London to see this exhibition, but if you visited Savage Beauty and you’re in London during this time, this is a must-see for pop-culture fashion fanatics.