Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

So it’s been a sluggish start to the New Year blogging-wise, but after a busy week of working and prepping shoots I realised that I best put pen to paper and create some copy.  And no, today’s blog is not going to be a belated synopsis of fashion in 2013 or a preview of the trends to come, but a piece about the amazing Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House, which I finally went to see with my friend Fi over the holidays.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 3 Image-Peter Macdiarmid Getty

The ‘Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!’ exhibition (Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

Isabella Blow at Somerset House 4-Mode a Paris OE 2014 Giorno 7

Isabella wearing the Lobster outfit as seen on display above

Whilst both Fi and I are huge fashion lovers, I really didn’t expect the viewing to take more than an hour – as per a previous trip to the Paul Klee show at Tate Modern.  How wrong could I be?  This exhibition (curated by Alistair O’Neill with set design by Shona Heath) is so dramatic, rich and breathtakingly beautiful that even when rushing at the end (we were over an hour late to meet another friend-apologies again Bappa) it still took 2 hours to view everything. Room after room of Isabella’s exquisite clothes, all displayed on mannequins based on the late style icon herself, allowed me to closely peruse and truly appreciate the work of the genius designers she both discovered and mentored – chiefly Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, but also Julien Macdonald and Hussein Chalayan.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 6

Isabella Blow at Somerset House 8

A selection of stunning Philip Treacy hats (Image 2: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

Alongside the stunning clothing, there is memorabilia that belonged to Isabella, including comic faxes sent at Sunday Times Style, Rolodex entries written in pink ink and a stub of her favourite Chanel Rouge lipstick. Also supplementing the garments are videos of McQueen and Treacy’s graduate collections, their first London Fashion Week shows and the piece de resistance, the McQueen tribute show to Isabella Blow shown at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2008. With a symbolic bird theme, and entitled ‘La Dame Bleue’, the catwalk is flanked by a huge pair of illuminated wings (angel wings?), a thank-you to the person who helped him become one of the most revered designers of the 20th/21st Century.

 Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 54

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 53

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 52

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 35

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 45

A selection of looks taken from Alexander McQueen SS08 show ‘La Dame Bleue’ (Images:style.com)

I recommend anyone with even an iota of interest in fashion to visit this exhibition. It is stimulating, breathtaking and also hugely tragic. The late Isabella, with her dramatic hats and wonky lipstick, was a fabulous fashion director and a true eccentric style icon, without whom British fashion would be infinitely poorer. This is a stunning tribute to her work. Get down there pronto and be inspired.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 2

Reclining in a dramatic Philip Treacy hat

Isabella Blow at Somerset House

ISABELLA BLOW AND MAC COSMETICS 'BLOW' LIPSTICK LAUNCH PARTY AT THE BLOW DE LA BARRA GALLERY, LONDON, BRITAIN - 07 SEP 2005

Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, at the launch of her lipstick collaboration with Mac, 7th Sept 2005, London

‘ Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!’ runs from 20 Nov 2013 – 2 Mar 2014 at Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA.

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/isabella-blow-fashion-galore

Going Geometric

This week saw the online launch of the Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop jewellery range. With an MA in Constructed Textiles from the RCA and clients including Selfridges and Hussein Chalayan, Angold is a name to watch in the world of accessories. Her main range employs techniques such as laser cutting and acid etching to create unique architectural pieces, with her team utilising the finesse of watch-making to craft all the pieces from her East London studio.

Sarah Angold for Topshop 2- 25th July £52

Freedom at Topshop, £52

Angold has not compromised on quality with this diffusion range for Topshop – each item in the collection is handmade in her studio and engraved with an individual production number.  Having arrived at the Oxford Street store 2 weeks ago, fashion fans outside London can now grab a piece of the action online.  If you like your necklaces to make a statement then this is the range for you.  Bold, graphic and futuristic, these pieces are perfect for a hedonistic night in balmy Ibiza.  Or, closer to home, add one to your outfit for this weekend’s Secret Garden Party.

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop. Prices range from £30-£60 http://www.topshop.com  

For her stunning main collection and lighting designs go to http://www.sarahangold.com

Sarah Angold_ Silver Stud £32

Freedom at Topshop, £32

NB.  Speaking of partying, a pair of Angold’s striking earrings wouldn’t go amiss at the V&A’s Club to Catwalk exhibition, which highlights the clothing of the crazy 80s London clubbing scene.  With a resurgence of 80s influenced garments currently in stores, and neon brights doing the fashion rounds, you can get inspired by the New Romantics or warehouse party looks of a bygone era.  Just leave the glow-stick at home.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s at the V&A London runs until 16th Feb 2014 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-from-club-to-catwalk-london-fashion-in-the-80s/about-the-exhibition/