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. McQueen SS2008 Look 54 McQueen SS2008 Look 53 McQueen SS2008 Look 52 McQueen SS2008 Look 35 McQueen SS2008 Look 45

A selection of looks taken from Alexander McQueen SS08 show ‘La Dame Bleue’ (

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 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.

Debenhams celebrates 200 years

If you have been inspired by the gowns featured on the Emmys red carpet, then you may be interested in today’s post.  High-street stalwart Debenhams is celebrating its 200th birthday this year (yes, that’s double century!) and to mark the occasion is releasing an exclusive limited edition Designers at Debenhams collection. The pieces hit store in October, however the pre-order waiting list is now open, so if you’re dreaming of donning a shimmery maxi-dress this Xmas then you’d best get on that list.

Stylitz Debenhams Limited Edition Butterfly by Matthew Williamson dress

Printed maxi-dress, £150, Butterfly by Matthew Williamson for Debenhams

Long time Debenhams collaborators John Rocha and Jasper Conran have both designed pieces for the collection alongside boho-lover Matthew Williamson and K-Mid favourite Jenny Packham.  Speaking of our future queen (and if it’s full on glam that you’re craving) then this sequinned showstopper from Julien Macdonald may tickle your fancy.  It is also remarkably similar to a recent dress worn by Kate to her first post-baby event.

Stylitz Debenhams Limited Edition Star by Julien Macdonald dress

Sequinned dress, £199, Star by Julien Macdonald for Debenhams

Kate in Jenny Packham at  inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards at the Royal Society in London - Sept 2013 - Image - PA

Kate in Jenny Packham at the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards at the Royal Society in London, Sept 2013 (Image: PA)

The collection comprises of eight garments – four evening dresses and four coats – and a selection of homeware and leather accessories.  Prices range from £12.50 for plates to £299 for the stunning scarlet Jenny Packham floor-length gown – guaranteed to make you feel like a princess.

Stylitz Debenhams Limited Edition No.1 Jenny Packham dress

Red satin gown, £299, No.1 Jenny Packham dress for Debenhams

However, if you require something a little more practical then perhaps this white faux-fur trimmed fit-and-flare coat will suit (I did say a little more practical).  This rouses my Slavic roots and channels an inner Anna Karenina – cue image of self skating round a deserted frozen lake in snowy Russia.

Stylitz Debenhams Limited Edition J by Jasper Conran coatWhite faux-fur trimmed coat, J by Jasper Conran for Debenhams


Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina


Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina costume for Vogue Oct 2012 (Image: Vogue)

If late 19th Century literature isn’t your thing, then opt instead for this on-trend furry cocoon coat from H! By Henry Holland or this chic Hepburn-esque lace A-line dress by Rocha. John Rocha.

Stylitz Debenhams Limited Edition H by Henry Holland coat

Boucle coat, H! by Henry Holland for Debenhams

John Roch..

Lace midi-dress, £150, Rocha. John Rocha for Debenhams

To join the list, email and be sure to get your orders in early.  A modern day Cinderella doesn’t need a fairy godmother when she has a waiting list and email to hand…

Limited Edition Collection from Designers at Debenhams launches in October, but you can pre-order now by emailing

Main holding image: Lace midi-dress, £150, Rocha. John Rocha for Debenhams