The Isabella Blow Fashion Galore Exhibition

As another fashion week is fast approaching, I thought I would share my view of the exhibition. I was lucky enough to experience it at London Fashion week with blog pals Laura, Jodie, Clare and Sherin. We are all massive fans, so already knew about Isabella's love of hats but were looking forward to getting to know more about her. I'm so happy that her best friend Daphne Guinness purchased the entire lot of Isabella's wardrobe, so that this exhibition could happen and she has also set up and help raised money for mental health in the form of the Isabella Blow foundation.  If you have never heard of her than maybe give the documentary ' Alexander and I' a watch, as it explains her importance with the fashion world and how she discovered the next big thing one of many being Alexander Mc Queen. As we went in we were told not to take photos, which I think is sad as it was like going into a sweet shop and being told you could have anything but sweets. Hence why I only got a couple of sneaky snaps, the others are from here

So anyway first were some old photos of Isabelle's family and her aristocratic upbringing in the 1950's, her grandfather had taken his life after suffering with depression (it's sad that she took her life the same way he had later in 2007). Izzy (as everyone called her) had two sisters, Julia and Lavinia, and a brother, John, who drowned in the family's swimming pool at the age of two. In 1972, when she was 14, her parents separated and her mother left the household, bidding each daughter farewell with a handshake. Her parents divorced two years later. Isabella did not get along with her father, who bequeathed her only £5,000 from his estate, which was worth more than one million pounds. Blow often said her fondest memory was trying on her mother's pink hat, a recollection that she explained led to her career in fashion. There was also a photo with Andy Warhol, who she befriended after working at Vogue as an assistant and magazine layouts that she had been involved in. She was very creative and just had a natural eye for spotting future fashion, that I think others may have just dismissed. There was a pike with a nest stacked on top made from stuffed birds, lipsticks and all manner of things, as we looked to the shadow it showed Blows profile it was so odd yet so beautiful. 

Moving on into the next room, we had the visual delight of seeing Alexnader McQueens 
( you can see flaws in stitching and see that he still had things to learn but the details were still breath taking) first collection shown at Central St Martins and she purchased his entire graduate collection for £5,000, paying it off in weekly £100 instalment's. She often reflected on his first show and said " I couldn't get a seat, I sat on the floor" but she knew he would be big and backed him all the way. Without her encouragement and the way she branded him and helped him sell himself to the fashion world was incredible, he may not have became the designer she could already see without her help and connections. There was also the first collection of Philip Treacy hats, another designer Blow had discovered and also became best friends with. There was a massive room with her hat collection, it was insane as it was only a few as they were dotty around the whole exhibition. 

There were videos of shows, and the next collections at this point I felt that as amazing as it was to see her relationship with the clothing and designers I wanted to know more about her and who she really was. As we made our way further in we got to a room with boxes with legs, than saw they had her shoe collection on them Blow once said "Tip: Always accentuate the head and the feet". I think my favourite things were seeing her lipstick and star glazer style rainbow lashes, it made the exhibition about her again about how fun and free she was. Also her letters requesting things for photo shoots and budget, her massive rolodex (this was back in the days before smartphones). She often bought to pairs of the same shoes in different colours to mix them, there was a set of three sliver shoes all the left foot so not sure what happened there. 

Also a broken heel that they had found in one of her coat pockets but they could not find the shoes themselves. I think this side showed that Isabelle didn't wear these things for show, she worn and lived in them because she loved them. The clothes could have been restored, but I love that they left them with burn whole etc... you got the spirit that Isabelle wore pieces as same would wear a pair of jeans. She often said she wore hats to 'keep people at a distance' I think she knew that a lot of people in the fashion world were fake and was very aware of them mocking her. Full outfits worn by Blow were recreated on mannequins by set designer Shona Heath using old photographs and were visual fashion candy for the eye. It was truly amazing to see clothing that to some would be considered art, be her 'every day' wear. 

We all got a little overwhelmed I think and were trying to image how she had them all hanging up in her wardrobe. Lastly at the end showed the  Spring Summer 2008 collection that Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy collaborated on and dedicated to Isabella after her death, on show to epitomise her legacy. It was so heartbreaking and watching a video of the show on massive screen, and seeing Alexander hit home that both were gone forever. It's sad that they both needed each other, but were both in their own fight against depression. There was one dress that we all were completely gob smacked by, a full length gown made entirely of feathers it was possible thee most stunning dress I have ever seen. One sadly Izzy never got to wear, she took her life as she felt she was no longer useful. When asked in an interview once about Alexander she said "Lee is like a wild bird with a good silhouette. He makes clothes fly"

Overall I would have liked to have seen more about her, but I'm glad I got to see first hand her amazing wardrobe and the all her notes, photos and makeup. 


  1. I loved reading your review full of details! I'm a bit jelous, I would have loved attending the event!
    Bonjourchiara Facebook Page

  2. I would love to have seen this, great review! glad you enjoyed it x
    eleanor's adventures // UK Fashion & Beauty Blog


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