Thursday, May 9, 2013

Creative Ménage à trois – milliner, designer, ISABELLA BLOW

Blow me down if it’s not an Isabella Blow exhibition set to hit London later this year!

Announced yesterday was the upcoming exhibition ‘Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!’ organized by the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central St Martins, London.

For those not familiar with the legend of Isabella Blow, she was a highly influential VOGUE and TATLER stylist, cheeky celebrity bon vivant, style queen and daring wearer of hats, most famous during the 1980s.   During her time at Vogue, she single-handedly launched the career of then Royal College of Arts student Phillip Treacy when she commissioned him to make a headdress for her medieval-inspired wedding to Detmar Blow.  She quickly moved him into a studio basement below her house where they spent months together dreaming up more and more outrageous headwear creations for her to wear.

Whilst Philip Treacy’s career was propelled by his relationship and collaboration with Blow, the indomitable talent of Alexander McQueen completed it.    Blow was also renowned for launching McQueen’s career around the same time, when she purchased his entire graduate collection whilst a Master’s student at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design.      Blow encouraged collaboration between McQueen and Treacy, and together with her contacts and role within the media, helped shoot all three talents to fame, and they remained an formidable hyper-creative ménage à trois until the suicidal deaths of both Blow (2007) and McQueen (2010) respectively.   (yes like many a creative genius, she was a depressive)

Anyhoo, the exhibition is curated by Alistair O’Neill with Shonagh Marshall, designed by architectural firm Carmody Croarke, with installations by set designer Shona Heath, and will show 100 pieces from her epic collection of shoes and HATS, now owned by Daphne Guiness.  Among the labels featured in the show, in addition to McQueen and Treacy, are Jeremy Scott, Julien Macdonald, Viktor & Rolf, Fendi, Escada, Prada and Marni.


Sometimes it’s a bitch living in Australia.

Exhibition details:  2 November – 30 March Somerset House, London.

Photographer Donald McPherson 'Isabella and Philip', portrait at Claridges, 2002.  
Blow wears Haute Couture Mother of Pearl top and trousers by Alexander McQueen and Treacy ‘Tiffany pink DuPont Lycra stretch disc with feather arrows’ (online) 

The first hat Isabella commissioned Phillip Treacy to make, for her wedding to Detmar Blow, 19

More Phillip Treacy/Blow collaborations:

"I wear hats to keep everyone away from me.  They say, 'Oh, can I kiss you?  I say, no, thank you very much.  That's why I've worn the hat.  Goodbye.' I don't want to be kissed by all and sundry.  I want to be kissed by the people I love".  
(from an interview with Tamsin Blanchard 2002)

"The Spirit in which she wore hats was like visual entertainment for everybody else and a tonic for her."
(Phillip Treacy)

Isabella Blow, portrait at Claridges, 6 May 2002. Styling by Amber Desborough, Phillip Treacy disc hat, orange acrylic, 2001.
                   Silk Victorian jacket by Alexander McQueen.  Vanity Fair, July 2002.  Photographer Donald McPherson.

Some other highly recommended links to all things ISABELLA BLOW:

No comments:

Post a Comment