The exhibition of the life of Isabella Blow, renowned fashion editor and stylist who nurtured the likes of Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, at Somerset House is one that is beautifully and sensitively curated. It starts with the beginning of Blow's life with family pictures of her childhood when she was still Isabella Broughton, a girl born into riches and luxury and learning she had to fend for herself to create her own riches.
You are not only met with exclusive family photographs and articles of the time when Blow was growing up but also short film clips with Philip Treacy and other friends, in the midst of creative endeavors. One particular piece that blew my mind with Tim Noble and Sue Webster's piece made of a Manolo Blahnik, dead raven and other bits and bobs that Blow picked herself for them to make into a sculpture that, when hit by light, projected a shadow of Blow's profile.
We are then treated with a rare sight, dozens of mannequins dressed with some of Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy's first collections, including their MA collections, that were bought by Blow and contributed to their subsequent fame.
The exhibition itself is a treasure trove for any boy or girl with a love for not only the glamorous but the poetically beautiful. Some of Blow's most remembered outfits are on display, showing not only her perfectly talented and trained eye but also her extraordinary originality that made her stand out as one of the most stylish women of our time.
The ending of the exhibition is probably one of the most emotional I have ever had, as it talks to us about Blow's death by her own hand and the collection created for her by Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy in commemoration of her brilliance and nurturing of them. It is a show that is simultaneously celebratory and painfully sad all at once, and one that can bring a tear to the eye of many viewers who never had the pleasure of meeting Blow.
An exhibition I highly recommend.