The late fashion maverick Isabella Blow was known for her wicked sense of humor and uninhibited style—once, while visiting Karl Lagerfeld in his Paris home, she dragged a dirty chain all over his cream-colored carpet. “She was like a character in a novel,” says Shonagh Marshall, the co-curator of the exhibition "Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!," opening on November 20 (through March 2, 2014) at Somerset House in London.
At the center of the British fashion scene in the ’90s, Blow had a keen eye for talent, most famously launching the careers of Alexander McQueen, whose 1992 Central Saint Martins MA graduation collection she bought on sight, and of Philip Treacy, whose hats became a quintessential part of her identity. Personal pieces by both designers will be featured alongside such treasures as a pink burka (recently loaned to Lady Gaga). “You can admire the collection for its design or craft, but you can’t detach it from the fact that it was worn by a woman,” Marshall says. “It’s a memory of a life lived.”