Her Review: Inside the Wardrobe of Fashion Muse Isabella Blow

Somerset House gives an inside look into the closet of a great fashion icon in “Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!” The exhibition displays Isabella Blow’s wardrobe and hat collection, narrating her rise in the fashion industry with the discovery of young Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy.

After learning about Blow’s upbringing, guests enter a large room displaying McQueen’s original graduate collection featuring elegant distressed military-inspired garments. The centrepiece of the room is a stunning sabotaged black lace dress with a chevron panel and veil attached to an antler headdress. Head upstairs to find whimsical hats by Treacy from his 1996 Autumn/Winter collection. Inspired by exotic and period styles, his hats experiment with aerodynamics and shape.

In next room is an assortment of Blow’s personal items. Each object had its own story. Her favourite lipstick Rouge Coromandel by Chanel was put on display along with stamped letter with Blow’s signature lipstick kiss. Other items included a notebook where she preferred to write in pink ink. Penis-shaped confetti, designed by friend Simon Periton, was created as a gag gift for the fashionista. Blow would often sprinkle them on floors of fashion shoots to ease tension. 

The most gorgeous gowns can be found at the finale where McQueen and Treacy collaborated for La Dame Bleue, the Spring/Summer 2008 collection dedicated to Blow after her death. The duo produced gray and red frocks, implementing the theme of birds. Feathers are delicately applied giving dresses a stunning texture. In the back, a film projects the fashions show to illustrate gowns on the runway.

Blow’s fashion collect is like stepping into an enchanted time. Her style was playful and experimental, which equally matched her eccentric personality. The Somerset House organized a proper tribute to the late icon by telling her life story through clothes.

Getting there: Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!. Until Mar 2; Somerset House; tube: Temple; Tickets: £12.50, £10 concessions; 020 7836 7613; www.somersethouse.org.uk